In a celebration of community spirit and collaboration, Whāingaroa recently played host to a special event featuring Rob Mokaraka, renowned actor and mental health advocate, who brought his impactful Shotbro show to the heart of Whāingaroa.
The community had the opportunity to witness Rob’s skillful storytelling, where he candidly shares his personal mental health struggles and the transformative journey to healing. The event, held in early November, was made possible through the dedicated efforts of local organisers and the generous support of various sponsors and businesses.
The brainchild of Teresa Morgan, a kaiawhina at Raglan Medical, the event’s initial vision was to bring the inspirational speaker Butterbean (David Latelli) to the community. However, as the planning progressed, Teresa and Lara Sweetman of Raglan Naturally were introduced to the impactful work of Rob Mokaraka by Michelle Levy, a consultant for Raglan Naturally. The idea gained traction as the Suicide Awareness Roopu enthusiastically supported the suggestion after viewing a documentary about Rob’s work on Māori television.
Rob Mokaraka, known for his Shotbro show, also became an integral part of the planning process. His positive and flexible approach, coupled with the support of sound technician Taungaroa Emile, created a dynamic and collaborative atmosphere during their stay in Whāingaroa. The duo even had the opportunity to connect with the local community, including a kōrero and kai meet up with Daniel Kereopa and interactions with Armin and Phil of Whāingaroa Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Te Whatu Ora, Raglan Naturally, Raglan Medical, and Raglan Area School were instrumental sponsors, and their support was further amplified through the endorsement of Eddie Neha. The Te Whatu Ora funding came through Neha’s connection, who fully endorsed Rob Mokaraka’s work and extended the support to include both the Huntly and Whāingaroa communities.
The key organising crew included individuals from various community sectors: Teresa Morgan (Raglan Medical kaiawhina), Lara Sweetman (Raglan Naturally Community Well-being Connector), Betty Diprose (RAS counsellor), Craig Mitchell (Raglan Naturally and Raglan Radio), Campbell Imlah (community member), Jo Levy (RAS admin and counselling student), and Joe Rao (ex RAS teacher).
The event also received substantial support from local businesses and individuals. Raglan Medical’s Takarangi mental health support team, Super Value, Dreamview, Youth Intact, Rose from Rural Delivery, Property Brokers, Margaret Dillon event photographer) and the Surfside Hospitality Team alongside Angela Massey, all played pivotal roles in making the event a success. Special thanks were extended to Deputy Principal Quenten Browne and kaumātua Sean Ellison who welcomed the Shotbro crew to our community with an opening and closing karakia which anchored the event, and to Daniel Kereopa for offering a free surf session.
The Suicide Awareness Roopu, a dedicated group within the community committed to addressing mental health issues, played a central role in the event’s success. Their collective effort, combined with the support of numerous community businesses, made the Wednesday school show, attended by 90 students and 30 adults, and the Saturday community show, attended by 130 diverse community members, truly impactful.
The event’s unique touch was felt during the Hìkoi around the three bridges, fostering a sense of unity and trust among attendees. The Hikoi was the brainchild of Grace Mindoro (ex head girl of RAS) who had approached Betty, Lara and Lisa Thomson earlier in the year expressing her concerns for rangatahi mental health and wanting to take some action to address this issue. Ruby Gibbs also came on board and created the fabulous poster for the event.
Rob Mokaraka expressed his gratitude for the diversity within the room, acknowledging the interconnectedness of the community.
“This community of Whāingaroa//Raglan has the heart of a raiona//a lion! They have brought everyone together to illuminate the suicides in their hapori with aroha, mana, knowledge and heart to increase their basket of knowledge to navigate the tragic losses they have experienced. But most of all, to connect to each other more and utilise the resources available in their community.”
Look up “Shotbro – Confessions of a Depressed Bullet” on Facebook to explore Rob Mokaraka’s kaupapa and gain further insight into this powerful and special event that brought the Whāingaroa community together.
Support services and groups available for people within our community to access support are:
Kaiawhina- Teresa Morgan – will help to connect to local services and support 021 242 0114
Takarangi Team– Herani Davey and Alicia Tukiri- mental health support/ connect into support services – free service
Herani- 021 684 065 Alicia 021 684 065
Raglan Community House 07 825 8142
Raglan Area School Counsellor Betty Diprose- 07 825 8140
Lara Sweetman – Community Well-being Connector- will help to connect to local services and support- 021 022 60438
Te Toi Ora ( Marae Hub) 027 673 7827
Raglan Men’s Circle – Old Art’s Centre – John Vissers- every 2nd Wednesday next meeting on Wednesday 29 November.
Youth Intact– Waikato drug and alcohol service for rangitahi/young people 0800 468 228
Youthline Free 24/7 helpline 0800 37 66 33
The Low Down – supports young New Zealanders with depression and anxiety
0800 111 757 or txt 5626
Whatsup? Phone counseling for 5-18yr olds 11am to 11pm everyday
0800 942 8787
0508 TAUTOKO– Suicide crisis helpline- 0508 828 865
OUTline– Rainbow Mental Health support- specialist counseling- 0800 688 5463
Yellow Brick Road– free support and counseling for friend and family directly impacted by suicide- 0800 555 434
EDANZ– Improving outcomes for people with eating disorders and their whànau- 0800 233 269