‘Haututū Hunters’: City tāne on a hunt for whakapapa

'Haututū Hunters,' airing Tuesday, 7 November at 9.00 PM, is a six-part series following four urban Māori and Pasifika men as they journey to their ancestral lands to learn hunting and survival skills while reconnecting with their whakapapa.

‘Haututū Hunters’, the latest series to hit Whakaata Māori and MĀORI+ is taking a no-frills approach to getting four city tāne back to their roots, challenging them to hunt for their own kai and reconnect with their heritage.

The show tracks the exploits of Māori & Pasifika personalities Beulah Koale, Jordan Vaha’akolo, Te Kohe Tuhaka, and Xavier Horan. Swapping city life for the wilderness, the men return to their respective ancestral homes in Aotearoa and the Pacific, blending modern-day life with traditional mātauranga.

Producer Nicole Horan says the show’s mission is about bridging gaps with their past, but in a down-to-earth way.

“The series uses a light-hearted approach to conveying a serious message about the power of connection – and reconnection – to the past, to the whenua, and to whānau.”

A candid moment unfolds as Te Kohe Tuhaka (Tūhoe), amidst his journey, discovers his famous uncle.

“It really kicked things off for me because, as much as [it is about] coming here to do the hunting, for me it was more important to begin those connections.” He reveals. That captures the essence of the series - a mix of adventure and whānau ties, Horan says.

The heart of the series lies in its authenticity and relatability for other urban Māori and Pasifika, according to the Hi Mama Productions producer.

Beulah Koale’s return to Samoa after 16 years, and Xavier Horan’s first-ever trip to Mōtītī Island, are not just about hunting skills but about leaning into whakapapa.

“The boys’ have very few bush or sea skills, but they have a thirst for knowledge and an enthusiasm for learning.” Horan says.

“They discover they have whānau in these places more than happy to guide, teach and encourage them on their journeys of reconnection.” she continues.

She hopes the challenge of busy life, and hau kāinga is something relatable.

“Life can throw up all sorts of excuses for putting off doing things, but you can also just leap into it with your mates by your side.” she adds.

The series promises a mix of raw, real-life challenges and heartwarming moments.

From their famous whānau escapade in Whakatāne, learning the ropes from Uncle Harold, to tackling trapping in Kākahi and diving into the waters of Mōtītī Island, each episode is set to offer a glimpse into the lives, challenges, and triumphs of the mean, and those who came before them, as they explore their identity.

“It’s never too late to reconnect, or to give something new a go, and have some fun along the way.” Horan says.

Hunting and fishing is really a catalyst to explore the bonds that shape us, the whakapapa that grounds us, and the adventures that await when we step back into the world of our ancestors, she says.

Haututū Hunters’ premieres Tuesday, November 7 at 9.00 PM on Whakaata Māori (formerly Māori Television), Freeview channel 5 and channel 19 on Sky. It can be streamed on-demand at Māori+.