Introducing Aroha

Aroha Rawson has joined the NHT whānau as the producer and host of our Kaputī & Kōrero series.

Image of Aroha with cropped dark hair, a black top and a silver necklace

Aroha has lived and breathed the arts since discovering her love of acting at 11 years old. In 2001 Aroha returned home after 8 years in Oregon, USA, receiving a Silver Medal Diploma for Acting from LAMDA in London, mining sapphires, fishing and pruning tomatoes in Australia.

She tutored at the Christchurch Drama Centre, after a near death experience in which she broke her back in four places she returned to owning and operating a business for 3 years. Aroha then moved to Tāmaki Makaurau to start doing in earnest what she had been busy teaching – ACTING!

For the next 7 years Aroha worked at Māori Television. Moving from Production Coordinator/Researcher to Line Producer. Here she honed her production skills. Aroha was hugely fortunate to benefit from an kaupapa Māori environment. Finding herself immersed in mātauranga Māori rich content te reo Māori spoken by kaumatua, leaders and kaimahi of iwi from all over Aotearoa.

A pathway that would take her to the Mayan pyramids of Guatemala and Honduras, and is now a guiding touchstone of her life and work, was her research into Maramataka Māori. This research, under the mentorship of Professor Rangi Matamua, drew together maramataka of 11 iwi from across Aotearoa. This created the basis for a proposal that the show “Mataora” include a nightly national broadcast of the moon phases as an alternative or compliment to the weather report. In 2012 this was a bit “out there”, but with the support of the Head of the Te Reo Channel, Eruera Morgan, it went ahead.

During this time Aroha exercised her acting bones by enrolling in courses to grow her skills and began booking commercials and small roles in film and television. A contract with The Robert Bruce Agency proved to be the beginning of a new era in the acting arena. At this point Aroha also took on a Toi Māori Arts Internship with Auckland Arts Festival where she was mentored by Tama Waipara and Dolina Wehipeihana. After 4 years, and broadening her experience by working along side Waipara on the World Masters Games 2017 Entertainment Hub she began a new role in 2018 as a curator and placemaker of Matariki on the Waterfront, with FreshConcept. Aroha’s continues this work as Matariki Mana Whenua Event Specialist for Eke Panuku.

Just before the 2020 lockdown Aroha enrolled in the Diploma of Rongoā with Te Waananga o Raukawa and thrived on diving into the kete aronui and te ao rongoā. It has always been the curative seed in storytelling that attracts Aroha to all her roles. The rongoā, the healing capability and possibility of magnificently spun story are her jam. The effects are sometimes small, sometimes mind blowing, sometimes anger invoking, sometimes intrigue provoking, all are stimulus that move our minds and heart energy closer to the light. In this practice we can move and be moved by our own volition in a world we feel so little control of.

It is where we as arts creators, our gifts weave narrative and become an offer. When it is received and has given birth to fresh emotion and thought, the circle is in full swing, the healing occurs for all. As the creative vessels of this exchange we give our best by being our best, our strongest, happiest and most content. As Māori creatives we have a foundation laid by those who came before us to draw on. Tools a plenty. Our tupuna, Nancy Brunning, Don Selwyn, Wi Kuki Kaa, have shoved open the door. Kaputī & Korero has been created as the place for us to feed the creative soul with care. Here we stoke the fires of Mahuika with our whanau toi, build our kete oranga then move out into the world with greater wellbeing in and exuding from, our creations.

What an incredible journey and we are so grateful to have Aroha be our guide for our Kaputī & Kōrero series.

Nau mai, piki mai Aroha!