Huntress with heart

Tui Keenan makes her TV debut.

Tui Keenan makes her TV debut.

‘SOMETHING CLICKED’: Former police officer Tui Keenan incorporates skills and attitudes she has learned out hunting, into her work as a family harm response co-ordinator with the police Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke team.

Former police officer Tui Keenan makes her television debut on Tuesday night in a show called Hunting with Tui, about a woman who became hooked on hunting and wants to use it to help at-risk people. She spoke to Murray Robertson . . .

The Maori Television show follows 40-year-old Tui, her husband and their five daughters as they tour hunting and fishing spots around the country.

This is no travel or food show though. It’s Tui teaching her girls Reilly (aged 5), Stevie-Anne, Lena, Gracie and eldest Brooklyn, aged 18, about the hunter-gatherer way of life.

Tui is a family harm response co-ordinator with the Gisborne police family harm outreach team Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke.
She was in the police for eight years, and is now a non-sworn employee of NZ Police.

The mum, Zumba instructor and community worker now calls herself a keen hunter, and she wants to share those hunting skills as part of her work with Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke.

Since leaving the police Tui has founded multiple community organisations to support health and safety for women and whanau.

She describes her role with Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke as her dream job.
“What had an adverse effect on me in the police was the degree of family harm I saw happening.
“I left the force because I found an opportunity to enhance whanau ora through health and fitness.”

Among other things she has set up Te Hahi (the church), to link families at risk of family harm with pastoral care.
“What I am doing ties in with my own experience and growth as a Maori woman when I went hunting for the first time.”

She and her 45-year-old policeman husband Sergeant Comrie Keenan, who has recently returned to duties in Gisborne, had often gone on hunting trips together.
“But it wasn’t until I shot my first deer about a year ago that I became hooked,” Tui said.
“When I shot my first deer there was a rush of emotions. The endorphins kicked in and I was hooked.

Tui said climbing Mt Hikurangi, “her maunga”, during filming for the show was another turning point for her.
“I grew up in an overwhelmingly Pakeha environment in Christchurch and I came through into adulthood believing Maori were inferior.
“The day I climbed the mountain was a beautiful spiritual moment.

“Something clicked inside of me — it was like I had discovered who I am as a Maori woman.
“I was crying, but it was a good cry. It was because I had recognised the truth, that I’d been believing a lie for so long.

“I call myself a born-again Maori now because of that moment on my mountain. Life just hasn’t been the same since.
“It was like that lie about Maori being inferior exploded.”

She says that is something else she tries to pass on to her family harm clients.
“I want to inspire families to enjoy the outdoors together and connect with our land and sea.
“We live in a beautiful well-resourced country. I had the privilege of seeing new parts of the country while making Hunting with Tui and I feel so blessed to be on this journey.”

Nowadays Tui hunts more often than her husband does.
“I’ve taken over his .308 rifle and renamed it Betty, after my grandmother. Much to Comrie’s disgust.”

Operation Fill the Freezer has been going in the Keenan household for more than a year, where they set out to go 12 months without buying meat.
They achieved that goal as they went hunting for deer and pig, fishing and cray fishing, and put it all in their freezer.

The couple continue to fill that freezer, and share the surplus with whanau and friends.

Tui has also been teaching her daughters about being kaitiaki, or guardians, of the land.
“That’s something I’ve really noticed they’ve learned from me on my journey — protecting the land, and realising it’s everyone’s responsibility to nurture animals, the land and the sea.
“It’s not just a Maori thing. It’s an everybody thing.”

Jane Reeves, producer of Hunting with Tui heard about Tui and her newfound hunting passion from a colleague.
“Tui leads by example. I hope that a hunting show presented by a strong, fit wahine who loves every aspect of the hunt will inspire other wahine,” Jane said.

As Tui travels the country she and her family meet up with expert local outdoorsmen and women in their secret hunting and fishing spots, never hesitating to roll up their sleeves and get the mahi (work) done.

“Both my hubby and I, we’re really keen to promote healthy whanau, through our work and through our passion of seeing whanau just getting along.

“We don’t see a lot of that in our workplace.”

  • The 10-part series Hunting With Tui is on Maori Television, Tuesdays from June 11, 9pm. and on demand at Maoritelevision.com.
  • It will be officially launched at the Odeon Multiplex on Monday night at 5.30pm. “Admission is free but we ask people to bring a can of some sort of food, to be donated to the Te Hahi food bank for our needy whanau”.
  • <

Former police officer Tui Keenan makes her television debut on Tuesday night in a show called Hunting with Tui, about a woman who became hooked on hunting and wants to use it to help at-risk people. She spoke to Murray Robertson . . .

The Maori Television show follows 40-year-old Tui, her husband and their five daughters as they tour hunting and fishing spots around the country.

This is no travel or food show though. It’s Tui teaching her girls Reilly (aged 5), Stevie-Anne, Lena, Gracie and eldest Brooklyn, aged 18, about the hunter-gatherer way of life.

Tui is a family harm response co-ordinator with the Gisborne police family harm outreach team Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke.
She was in the police for eight years, and is now a non-sworn employee of NZ Police.

The mum, Zumba instructor and community worker now calls herself a keen hunter, and she wants to share those hunting skills as part of her work with Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke.

Since leaving the police Tui has founded multiple community organisations to support health and safety for women and whanau.

She describes her role with Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke as her dream job.
“What had an adverse effect on me in the police was the degree of family harm I saw happening.
“I left the force because I found an opportunity to enhance whanau ora through health and fitness.”

Among other things she has set up Te Hahi (the church), to link families at risk of family harm with pastoral care.
“What I am doing ties in with my own experience and growth as a Maori woman when I went hunting for the first time.”

She and her 45-year-old policeman husband Sergeant Comrie Keenan, who has recently returned to duties in Gisborne, had often gone on hunting trips together.
“But it wasn’t until I shot my first deer about a year ago that I became hooked,” Tui said.
“When I shot my first deer there was a rush of emotions. The endorphins kicked in and I was hooked.

Tui said climbing Mt Hikurangi, “her maunga”, during filming for the show was another turning point for her.
“I grew up in an overwhelmingly Pakeha environment in Christchurch and I came through into adulthood believing Maori were inferior.
“The day I climbed the mountain was a beautiful spiritual moment.

“Something clicked inside of me — it was like I had discovered who I am as a Maori woman.
“I was crying, but it was a good cry. It was because I had recognised the truth, that I’d been believing a lie for so long.

“I call myself a born-again Maori now because of that moment on my mountain. Life just hasn’t been the same since.
“It was like that lie about Maori being inferior exploded.”

She says that is something else she tries to pass on to her family harm clients.
“I want to inspire families to enjoy the outdoors together and connect with our land and sea.
“We live in a beautiful well-resourced country. I had the privilege of seeing new parts of the country while making Hunting with Tui and I feel so blessed to be on this journey.”

Nowadays Tui hunts more often than her husband does.
“I’ve taken over his .308 rifle and renamed it Betty, after my grandmother. Much to Comrie’s disgust.”

Operation Fill the Freezer has been going in the Keenan household for more than a year, where they set out to go 12 months without buying meat.
They achieved that goal as they went hunting for deer and pig, fishing and cray fishing, and put it all in their freezer.

The couple continue to fill that freezer, and share the surplus with whanau and friends.

Tui has also been teaching her daughters about being kaitiaki, or guardians, of the land.
“That’s something I’ve really noticed they’ve learned from me on my journey — protecting the land, and realising it’s everyone’s responsibility to nurture animals, the land and the sea.
“It’s not just a Maori thing. It’s an everybody thing.”

Jane Reeves, producer of Hunting with Tui heard about Tui and her newfound hunting passion from a colleague.
“Tui leads by example. I hope that a hunting show presented by a strong, fit wahine who loves every aspect of the hunt will inspire other wahine,” Jane said.

As Tui travels the country she and her family meet up with expert local outdoorsmen and women in their secret hunting and fishing spots, never hesitating to roll up their sleeves and get the mahi (work) done.

“Both my hubby and I, we’re really keen to promote healthy whanau, through our work and through our passion of seeing whanau just getting along.

“We don’t see a lot of that in our workplace.”

  • The 10-part series Hunting With Tui is on Maori Television, Tuesdays from June 11, 9pm. and on demand at Maoritelevision.com.
  • It will be officially launched at the Odeon Multiplex on Monday night at 5.30pm. “Admission is free but we ask people to bring a can of some sort of food, to be donated to the Te Hahi food bank for our needy whanau”.
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