Twelve Questions
Jennifer Dann poses 12 questions to well-known faces

Twelve Questions with Libby Hakaraia

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Next month, Libby Hakaraia hits the road for the fifth series of It's In the Bag for Maori TV. Hakaraia - who is of Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toa Rangatira and Te Ati Awa descent - and her team are also filming a new show, My Country Song. She lives and works in Otaki with her partner, broadcaster Tainui Stephens.

Libby Hakaraia says she is drawn to the words and stories in country music. Photo / APN
Libby Hakaraia says she is drawn to the words and stories in country music. Photo / APN

1. What would Selwyn Toogood make of Maori Television's rendering of It's in the Bag?

I think Uncle Selwyn would give us a nod and a wink. He'd be pleased it's moved with the times and that 25 years on, the emphasis is still on small New Zealand towns and embraced the bilingual aspect. We haven't reinvented the wheel.

2. In life, what do you take - the money or the kete?

As a freelancer, I'm tempted to take the money. But if you only ever go for the money you deny yourself the surprises in life. So I'd say, take the bag. Take the risk.

3. Why is it important to work and live out of Otaki?

It's about the ukaipo - the wellspring; the nurturing of creativity and the soul. The only hindrance is having to leave to go elsewhere to meetings.4. What would be your country song?

That is yet to be discovered. I'm new to country music. I've always loved Johnny Cash and rockabilly but the joy of this show is listening with open ears.

I'm drawn to the words and stories in country music. It's about place, family and truth.

5. Whom or what is your greatest love?

I would have to say my darling. After being on the road, at the end of a production, I like to hide away at home. Libby Hakaraia

6. If you were an element what would you be and why?

Fire. I'm a fire sign, too. What I love about fire is the warmth and the mesmerising quality of it. We all find ourselves staring into the fire. It's an intrinsic human response.

7. What stories about ourselves should we be seeing and hearing and why?

We're starting to hear from communities - about the ordinary. That's what people like and find surprising. I'd like to see more Maori but it's better than it was five years ago. The mainstream and free to air channels do not serve the wider community. There is an arrogance about that.

8. If you had the budget of Wingnut productions what work would you create?

Everyone wants a big budget. I'd create an epic Zealand story through our Maori myths and legends, using special effects and the magic we've seen with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. We live in a story landscape.

9. When do you need to escape and where do you go?

After being on the road, at the end of a production, I like to hide away at home. We live in the sand dunes here. You can easily hide.

10. For what would you throw the remote control at the television?

Bigotry. And ignorance.

11. What is your earliest screen memory - what did you see and how did it dazzle you?

Star Wars. I was 8 or 9 and I remember it presented this world of possibilities and magic. I remember going to the movies and being blown away by the first line, "In a galaxy far, far away ..." Wow.

12. What phrase in te reo do you hold dear?

Kia u ki nga mea pai - cleave to the important things.

- NZ Herald

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