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They say you can take the boy out of the country, but what happens when you take four ‘city slickers’ back to the whenua and ask them to hunt for their kai?

Funded by NZ On Air, HAUTUTŪ HUNTERS is a six-part series premiering on Tuesday 7 November at 9.00 PM on Whakaata Māori and MĀORI+.


The series follows popular Māori & Pasifika personalities Beulah Koale (Sala’ilua, Savai’I, Aele Fou,Upolu), Jordan Vaha’akolo (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Maniapoto), Te Kohe Tuhaka (Ngāti Porou, Ngai Tūhoe), and Xavier Horan (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Pikiāo, Ngāti Pūkenga) who journey back to their respective hau kāinga in Aotearoa and the Pacific.


Producer Nicole Horan of Hi Mama Productions says the series uses a light-hearted approach to conveying a serious message about the power of connection – and reconnection – to the past, to the whenua, and to whānau.

Te Kohe Tuhaka takes his mates back to Whakatāne and is surprised to learn he’s about to meet his uncle, Tame Iti: “It really kicked things off for me because, as much as [it is about] coming here to do the hunting, for me it was more important to begin those connections.”

Watching these experiences is moving. We travel along with Beulah Koale returning to Samoa 16 years after his grandfather passed, to reconnect with his grandmother.


Xavier Horan, growing up in South Auckland travels to the land of his tūpuna on Mōtītī Island for the very first time.


“These boys’ have very few bush or sea skills, but they have a thirst for knowledge and an enthusiasm for learning,” says Nicole Horan.


“They also discover they have whānau in these places more than happy to guide, teach and encourage them on their journeys of reconnection.


Nicole Horan says it’s something many Māori and Pacifika will relate to.


“Life can throw up all sorts of excuses for putting off doing things, but you can also just leap into it with your mates by your side.”

“We all lead busy lives and time can get away from us. But it’s never too late to reconnect, or to give something new a go, and have some fun along the way,” says Nicole.