Island Girl Reviews

Heads Held High Production 2018

“I hope that one day our people understand that South Auckland is a place full of raw talent and love… I hope that one day the media get it right about us… I hope that one day people who don’t live out South realise we aren’t just window washers and criminals… but a place of high achievers. Communities full of tradition and hope” – A statement made by one talented Calista Fa’amausili, aged 16, a young way-finder and warrior of Tangaroa College.

As a person from South Auckland myself, I am always baffled by the negative thoughts and stereotypes surrounding the place I consider and call ‘home’.

In June 2018, I watched a production called Heads Held High, presented by the Black Friars. Consisting of 9 South Auckland Schools, including 60 young warriors – War on the Streets of South Auckland was the theme of this moving production.

The production proved just how amazing the youth of South Auckland are and the talent showcased through Heads Held High was a testament to just how great South Auckland is. Despite the negative stereotypes and connotations revolving around South Auckland, Heads Held High touched on topics that were not only relevant to the youth of today, but some topics reached out to parents of our youth and their families too.

Addressing topics such as the acceptance of the LGBT community in our own neighbourhoods, the stereotypes among youth of South Auckland, stereotypes among Polynesian people and bullying in schools. The show was an eye opener for the reality that we, as people of colour still face prejudice, discrimination and racism even today. Despite living in the land of multicultural diversity, people of colour are still portrayed in a bad light, especially in the media.

People who have never stepped foot in the suburbs of South Auckland stereotype our youth as “window washers” or “good for nothing trouble makers”. The media dwells on the “statistics of South Auckland being the part of Auckland with the highest criminal rates”.

However, what is hardly ever portrayed is the good about South Auckland – Or if something good is portrayed, it’ll be a little something like “Auckland School praised by Will Smith for Fresh Prince of Bel Air dance routine“. Manurewa High School was the “Auckland” school that was praised by Hollywood celebrity Will Smith yet outlets forgot to mention the ‘South’ Auckland part? For people who call South Auckland “home” and who are sick of the negative connotations and stereotypes of our Home, not properly acknowledging South Auckland is a big deal.

South Auckland should be given praise and recognition it deserves when good things happen and not only be in the light of media when negative things occur. Let us be remembered just as much for the good we have in our suburbs and the talented youth that are brought up in South Auckland.

Heads Held High 2018 proved that our youth are warriors. These young warriors will fearlessly stand up for what they believe in and pave the way for other South Auckland youth to reach for the stars!