The Hit Home Project – Preserve Our Peoples Lives (Manurewa, Tāmaki-mā-kau-rau)

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The Hit Home Project
Home is a place that should be peaceful and safe from the storms.  But for some families, this is a place where they have lost a loved one to suicide.   The whānau who live and remain in those homes, are left only with questions, memories, and heart ache.
The Hit Home project, started in South Auckland, was put together for those impacted by Suicide.
Initially, this project began when a whānau lost their treasured boy to suicide.  As a much loved young man, the impact of his passing quickly rippled out to the whānau and throughout their community.   In a bold move to get something happening for those effected, a group of whānau members put together the idea to hold an art exhibition. Although they didn’t consider themselves ‘artists’, they believed that art would enable them to express how they felt about their loved one’s passing and how it impacted them.  In doing so, they envisioned the whānau would be able to share their experiences and hopefully begin a healing journey for them all.
In preparation for the Exhibition they held meetings and wānanga in visual arts, they had sessions to share their experiences and work through their grief, and they brought in specialists to talk about suicide prevention with the whānau and community.
After some discussion, it was identified that the very first exhibition was to be in a house.  Although there were possible issues with this choice, having the first exhibition in an actual home seemed right.  Once the exhibition opened and people went through the spaces,  it was easy to see the significance of the event.  The space & the place, really helped the message of the exhibition ‘Hit Home’.   A truly emotional journey, there were few people who left the exhibition with dry eyes and were heard to say “we didn’t budget for enough tissues”.  As you moved through to view the artworks, the realities of the impact of suicide on a whānau and community was evident throughout.
Elders and chiefs attended the exhibition also, from the Cook Island Community who acknowledged that suicide is something they don’t like to talk about.  The exhibition however, helped the community to share and talk more openly about things and many people who came through were able to share their own stories.
It was awesome to see whānau put their plans into action and from it, we saw the power of art to heal and share stories.   All generations were there… nannies, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents… and they could see,  “The more you tell your story, the more you are be able to help others.”
Te Au: The Centre for Māori Suicide Prevention within Te Rau Ora, is proud to have hosted the Hit Home Project exhibition in their Kirikiriroa/ Hamilton office from Tuesday the 16th  of February to the 19th of March 2021.  We had many visitors see exhibition who were deeply moved by the artwork in the show.
Go to these links (below) to see some powerful video artworks by this group.  Please note, these videos have strong emotional content. If this triggers anything for you, please find support, or talk to someone who can help  (or free call 1737).
To My Brother-
Grandmother’s korero-
*Initiative:  The Hit Home Project
*This Whānau initiative is supported by Te Au (and Te Rau Ora) through the Māori Suicide Prevention Fund (2020-2021)

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