Entertainment | Tairāwhiti - East Coast

Piripi’s adventures continue across the ditch

Getting a passport is Piripi Takurua's first challenge when he decides to take on Australia. Photo: Te Amokura Productions

This article was first published by RNZ

Just over a year ago, Piripi Kaiwaru Takurua was “king of the castle” at his whanau home in Uawa (Tolaga Bay). His mum Pele Kupenga-Keefe had “gapped it” to Wellington, so Piripi had to juggle household responsibilities along with his mahi with a forestry crew.

Now Piripi, or as his mum Pele Kupenga-Keefe calls him, Phillip, is back for another series of hilarious escapades. In season 2 of The Adventures of Piripi Kaiwaru, AKA Phillip, the 20-year-old swaps the hills of Uawa for the plains of Kalgoorlie.

In season one, viewers got to know Piripi as he navigated life in Te Tairāwhiti without the guiding hand of his mum.

Takurua says we can expect heaps from his season two adventures but he’s not giving away too many spoilers.

“Kangaroos, snakes, mean scenery, one of the uncles... I won’t say too much,” he says.

The Adventures of Piripi Kaiwaru, produced by Te Amokura Productions for TAHI, with support from Te Māngai Pāho, is a whānau affair. Takurua’s aunty, Fiona Amokura, produces the show, his brother Akukata works behind the camera and his mum narrates it.

Amokura got the idea for the show after Kupenga-Keefe moved down to Wellington nearly three years ago, leaving her son in Uawa.

“She’d be Facetiming him and telling him what to do, it was a crack-up,” Amokura says.

“Piripi is just mischief. He was at home, holding it all down and I thought, ‘this is hilarious, people need to see this.’ There’s no acting, that’s just how they are.”

Kupenga-Keefe says she missed her children “terribly” when they were living apart.

“I would have full on conversations with them and then of course I’d complain about them to their aunty,” she says.

“And all of those scenarios used to have the aunty in fits of laughter, and I think she had this paku whakaaro that this would be a good kiriata.”

She describes Piripi as “he momo” (a real character) and says that made him the perfect person to follow on the daily.

Piripi and his beloved truck, 'Luxy', at home in Uawa. Photo: Te Amokura

Kupenga-Keefe says their whanau have had mixed reactions to the show. Takurua’s oldest sister hasn’t been able to bring herself to watch it because she doesn’t know why people would be interested in watching all the shenanigans that happen in the whānau home.

His younger sister is a little whakamā (embarrassed) at times but is still proud.

“She’s quite proud that her brother his doing something like this because it’s so out of character for him to put himself out there and be in front of the camera,” Kupenga-Keefe says.

Takurua’s mates seem to like the fact that he has his own show, but he tries to avoid the conversation with them.

“I don’t like talking about it with them I always try and change the conversation,” he says.

Piripi Takurua takes on Australia in the latest series of The Adventures of Piripi Kaiwaru. Photo: Te Amokura Productions

The wider whānau love the show because nobody is acting and there’s no script, Kupenga-Keefe says.

That extends to the use of te reo in the show. Kupenga-Keefe often switches between languages, which she says is very much the norm in their whānau. She says te reo is the language her tamariki “best understand in terms of following instructions and whatnot”.

“That’s pretty much how we speak in our home,” she says.

Takurua is now living in Te Whanganui a Tara, much closer to his mother.

“I’m unemployed now so I have to be close to Mum,” he laughs.

She’s quick to jump in and point out that although he’s changed his mind several times already, he has his mind set on becoming a sparky.

When asked about the possibility of a third season, Takurua already has a location in mind.

“Hopefully we get to go to Texas.”

The Adventures of Piripi Kaiwaru, aka Phillip, narrated by his Mother, is screening now on RNZ’s TAHI platforms. Check it out on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook.

By Pokere Paewai of RNZ