Steambox Film Collective: Tohea
Written by Aree Kapa – Kairuruku Rangatahi
The Steambox Film Collective is a group of Māori screen professionals based in Rotorua, who are passionate about narrative filmmaking. The group came together in 2010 to workshop different aspects of filmmaking and to support the development of each other’s film projects.
TOHEA is a four week crash course for rangatahi in film production. It’s purpose is to inspire and awhi rangatahi into the film industry, and to strengthen Indigenous storytelling made by Māori. Tohea was established by Steambox Collective in Rotorua, with support from Film Bay of Plenty and Winz. The crash course helps rangatahi into employment by giving them a firm foundation in screen industry knowledge as well as opportunities to work alongside established filmmakers on film production sets.
Tohea is unique in how practical it is. It balances tīkanga Māori with the film industry in a proactive and meaningful way. Steambox has made the effort to embrace te ao Māori in their Tohea course in order to empower, to grow and instill strong values into their tauira. Rangatahi will learn on-set lingo in te reo Māori and train mau rakau with support from tuakana from the previous intake. It is skills like this that enable rangatahi to be strong in their identity not only within the workforce but in all aspects of their lives.
Tohea is a prequel to an industry standard 6 week film production. Once rangatahi complete the crash course, they step into full-on, back-to-back production where they get to work alongside the veterans of Māori film in Aotearoa.
Being a mātauranga Māori environment, Steambox ensures rangatahi feel safe to make mistakes, take risks and learn from filmmakers within Tohea. Working with established filmmakers allows rangatahi that extra step into the industry where relationships can be made and employment opportunities surface.
Tohea empowers rangatahi into storytelling in the most practical and encouraging way, a space that nurtures Māori ahurea, mātauranga Māori and filmmaking. It’s an opportunity rangatahi will never forget on their journey in the arts industry.
Te Hira was a student of the most recent graduate class and has shared his own whakaaro from being on the four week crash course.
At Tohea, I worked with Henare Mato as a lighting assistant and loved every bit of it! I am currently contracting in production and have also started my own film production brand. I will never forget my time spent at Tohea and the many life lessons I learnt there.
No reira tēnā ra tatou katoa! Te Hira Horua (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa)