Rangatahi gathered at Te Araroa for wānanga / Trinity Thompson-Browne / Fruit from the Vine
Ko Rangitumau te maunga. Ko Ruamāhanga te awa. Ko Te Oreore te marae. Ko Te Hika a Papauma rātau ko Ngāti Hinepare, ko Ngāti Hamua ngā hapū. Ko Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa te iwi. Ko Potangaroa te whānau.
Ko Whakapūake te maunga. Ko Te Puna o Tangaroa te awa. Ko Ruataniwha te marae. Ko Ngāti Iwikātea rātau ko Ngāi Te Kapua-Mātotoru, ko Ngāti Pēhi, ko Ngāti Rua ngā hapū. Ko Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa te iwi. Ko Tamihana te whānau.
Ko Trinity Thompson-Browne ahau.
The world of mass media can be a tiring place. We are constantly overwhelmed with messages about what to think, and how to be, and what things we should value. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we believe the media, but it does inevitably have an influence on how we view the world.
Trinity Thompson-Browne is a young wahine who is based in Wellington. It was after seeing the effects of this media on herself and on rangatahi Māori around her that she felt it was her duty to respond.
“Every day I was seeing more and more of the negative impacts mass media had on people I loved… There was so much about media as a place of power that I was sick of tolerating, so I stopped.”
Thompson-Browne has just finished her degree in Te Reo Māori and Linguistics at Victoria University. It was something she chose to do out of a passion for languages. She is the daughter of a Pākehā mother and Māori father. Connecting to and knowing her reo is an important part of connecting to her Māoritanga. As she was finishing her degree, she developed her media company Fruit from the Vine.
Thompson-Browne was motivated by a dark cloud blanketing the motu. In New Zealand, our suicide statistics are among the worst in the entire world. Especially within Te Ao Māori, suicide is more than a statistic. It is a pain that we have all been personally affected by. What effect is negative media having on suicide statistics? And on the way we talk about it once it happens?
“Fruit from the Vine is a media company for rangatahi Māori, by rangatahi Māori. The goal is to empower rangatahi to move forward well, by having meaningful connections to the stories of other Māori,” Thompson-Browne says. “The underlying goal is to prevent suicide amongst rangatahi Māori. I didn’t want to get to the end of this year with there being [more deaths] when I knew Fruit from the Vine could be a part of changing that.”
As a media company focused solely on young Māori, it is already unconventional. This is exactly what Thompson-Browne wanted. Fruit from the Vine exists to disrupt the negative messages of mainstream media; to contradict everything that tells us that young Māori are troublemakers. What was important for its creator was to make sure that everything to do with Fruit From The Vine came out of high-trust relationship and knowing who you collaborate with.
“I feel like a lot of media produce so much content to the point that they become a content storage unit – where a person’s kōrero is no longer tāonga, but a word count. At Fruit from the Vine, everything is formed and fashioned out of high-trust relationship – it’s a living breathing network of relationships, it will never be a content unit.”
Having these relationships led to the launch of FFTV at the end of January. It’s a media company that has been supported not only by friends and whānau, but also by the Wellington City Council, TUIA Kaupapa, McGuinness Institute, and the Creative NZ Toi Tipu Toi Rea fund.
Through these relationships, Thompson-Browne has been able to share the stories of rangatahi Māori. They are stories that give us voice and diversify our experiences far beyond a stereotype. She talks about the ‘loaded give’ – giving only with an expectation of receiving something in return. It’s a mentality that absolutely cannot be a part of these personal conversations.
FFTV is creating a lot of energy. It is filling a need within society to access more empowering media, using its own hashtag, #wearemanaful. It reminds us of something that we often forget – the dynamic and diverse worlds of our rangatahi.
“It’s about not just surviving, but thriving and living well. If you’re empowering people to do that through meaningful connections with others, reducing suicide becomes a byproduct of that.”
To check out Fruit From The Vine:
If you need to help or support, here are some places that you can go:
0800 543 354
0800 376 633
The Crisis Line: