Power of storytelling to create change

Rangatahi from diverse communities gained insight into the power of storytelling to create change when they took part in three workshops in August run by some of Aotearoa’s most innovative documentary film makers.

Rangatahi buzzing with good vibes at the Auckland workshop

The Auckland workshop was buzzing with good vibes

Around 50 rangatahi learnt film making tools and techniques and picked up heaps of practical tips at the workshops run by Borderless Productions and E Tū Whānau in Whangarei, Auckland and Wellington during the school holidays.

By the end of the one-day workshop, each rangatahi had created a short film and they were all remarkable in their authenticity and emotional depth.  Some were hard-hitting, many were heart-warming, and all were reflections of each young person’s experiences, their dreams and their aspirations for their whānau and communities.

Inspiring others

Rangatahi responses about what's important to them “Borderless Production and E Tū Whānau helped to create a pathway of opportunity for rangatahi to grow and to develop their skills,” says E Tū Whānau rangatahi kaimahi, Shaneece Brunning.

“It gave them the courage to inspire others to have the confidence to share their stories.  This involved supporting them to capture the voices that must be heard, to capture the memories and moments shared, and to capture the power of change in our whānau and community.

Shaneece said that the rangatahi learnt for themselves just how valuable every person’s story is.

“No matter how big or small a story is, it always makes an impact.”

“The most valuable thing that I observed,” says Shaneece, “is watching the healing come out of listening to each other’s stories and listening to the pathways they took to get to where they are now.

“There were so many different stories shared – from stories that made tears stream down our faces filling our hearts with sorrow, to stories that filled us with inspiration and desire to achieve our aspirations.  For rangatahi, having a voice and a platform to share their voice is a challenge.  Being vulnerable in unfamiliar spaces, with unfamiliar faces is even more of a challenge.”

Walking alongside rangatahi

Borderless’s Qiujing Easterbrook-Wong explains the Borderless kaupapa.

“Borderless is the social change company behind the creation and running of the Aotearoa Humanity Project, an initiative supported by ACC.  The team at Borderless have used the learnings from this social change campaign to inform the storytelling workshops with rangatahi.  In particular, we have drawn on the experience of authentic interviewing and storytelling, and the power this has in helping to develop empathy, compassion and kindness in communities.”

Quijing says these workshops were one of the this year’s highlights for her.

“Perhaps the most surprising for me about these workshops was to see how quickly and comfortably these rangatahi were able to be vulnerable and tell their authentic story!  Some of their stories are very difficult, and yet, they shared them willingly.  Technical skills can be taught; but the power of storytelling, vulnerability and authenticity has to be experienced to be understood.  To me, this was where the real value of the workshops lay.

“I am left with a huge sense of hope and expectation – with enough of us walking alongside them, our rangatahi will shape whānau and communities for the better,” said Qiujing.

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