Heretaunga | Power of the Paddle

After a traumatic brain injury left her struggling to speak, Mika Tawhara turned to the waka to help her heal.

Heretaunga | Power of the Paddle

After a traumatic brain injury left her struggling to speak, Mika Tawhara turned to the waka to help her heal. Mika Tawhara found Waka Ama later in her life, but it quickly became more than a hobby. It became a community and a powerful tool for healing that she could not have imagined when she first picked up her hoi (paddle).

Whilst travelling to the Waka Ama nationals one year, Mika and her husband Denis were driving when a car passed over onto their side of the road and they found themselves in a horrific accident - the actual physical and psychological impact of which wouldn’t be known for weeks to come. Finding herself struggling to work, struggling to speak and struggling to cope with her emotions, Mika sought help from her doctor who diagnosed her with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

It took her some time to get back on the waka, but support from her Waka Ama community and whānau helped her to connect once again.

Platform: Play Stuff

Credits

Production Company: Awa Films

Director: Brandon Te Moananui

Series Producer: Letisha Tate-Dunning

Executive Producer: Julian Arahanga

Producer: Vanessa Patea

DOP: Hamish Waterhouse

Editors: Brandon Te Moananui, Sam Harris, Isaac Te Reina

Sound Recordist: Tony Spear