Te Whanganui-a-Tara, political hub of Aotearoa and a city that carries the rep of being home to individuals all free to express themselves. This was the city I chose to move to when I left my small town home for university. I loved the arts and the creative scene, I loved that people could walk down the street dressed how they like and the only people who would stare are the out-of-towners. But surely it has not always been like this?

Building on the themes explored in episode 3 of He Kākano Ahau, I wanted to get out and about to learn about some of the stories of early Wellington that make it what it is today. At the heart, a history of Māori drag queens like the iconic Carmen Rupe and the community she wrapped around her in the central city. In this video, I’m exploring Māoritanga and the nooks of the city that allow it to thrive.

Listen to Takatāpui, the third episode He Kākano Ahau here

He Kākano Ahau is a podcast written, researched, and hosted by Ngāi Tūhoe writer and activist Kahu Kutia. Kahu lives in Wellington after spending the first 18 years of her life in the valleys of her papakāinga, Te Urewera.

Over six episodes, Kahu explores stories of Māori in the city, weaving together strands of connection. At the base is a hunch that not all of us who live in the city are disconnected from te ao Māori.

He Kākano Ahau is produced for RNZ by Ursula Grace Productions, made possible by the RNZ/NZ On Air Innovation Fund.