Reflections, Massive and Co-Health – by Jared Hiakita
My name is Jared Hiakita. I am 26, of Maori decent and have spent most of my life in New Zealand. For 2 years now I have resided in Melbourne and for the last 6 months I have been truly fortunate to have been warmly welcomed into the Massive family and also to be involved in Co-Health’s initiative ‘Sisters and Brothers’ project.
This period in time has been significant for me, as it has seen a transition from full time formal employment into a full time focus on building my own musical career and up skilling in area’s of community based music programs. What I have experienced through my involvement with Massive and Co-Health has supported this shift immensely and built a foundation to further pursue such areas.
Massive is a very unique initiative. It is Australia’s first Hip-Hop Choir but I believe can be defined in a number of ways. Massive is a collective of young multicultural artists, is a community project, is a vehicle to attain and hone skills and is a group of young role models who stem from a range of musical backgrounds – emcees, beat-makers, singers, songwriters, poets, and instrumentalists with various other talents. While Massive is a “Hip-Hop Choir”, each artist is also in pursuit of their own musical pathway with varying musical tastes bringing different flavours to the table when it comes to writing and performing music. It will be very exciting to see what journey Massive continues to take into the future as I know the surface of potential has only been scratched. Massive has been an excellent means to grow my experience, skills and knowledge as a performer, songwriter and collaborator. Mostly, Massive has been an awesome community to be a part of.
Racism is a topic of discussion that can be quite taboo and somewhat uncomfortable in some circles – especially for primary and secondary school aged youth who may struggle to understand the various forms of racism that exist, how to deal with it and how to support others experiencing discrimination. Co-Health’s Sisters and Brothers initiative is an extra-ordinary program that breaks down this seemingly awkward topic and offers young people a simple yet effective platform to interact with the idea of racial and general discrimination. Through a high energy and interactive experience of music, story telling, role-play drama, AUS Land sign language, dance and performance young people are equipped with the skills to identify, deal with and react appropriately to racism and also to support others being discriminated against. In addition to this, Sisters and Brothers is a great chance for young people to participate in music, drama and performance where skills such as teamwork, leadership and confidence are built on.
During my time spent helping as a facilitator for Sisters and Brothers I myself have become a better equipped, more aware and motivated advocate against racial discrimination. I have witnessed young people from ages 5 to 17 years old from many backgrounds, including Anglo-Australian become passionate activists well aware of the many shapes that racism presents itself. Largely through music, hip-hop and role-play, youth are offered the skills to appropriately intervene with the persons responsible and support the target. All the while getting the chance to engage in something fun, physical, interactive and musical.
The experience and knowledge I have gained through these opportunities has been immense. I hope that I will be able to implement and spread these good messages one day at home in New Zealand and where ever else I may end up. Sincerely I have been fortunate to be a part of both Massive and the Sisters and Brothers project and am looking forward to what may come in the future as a result of these opportunities.
Jared is also a wonderful guitarist, singer songwriter and most recently collaborated under the moniker of Hosaia with producer Lubuku to release Set to go, the EP drops Monday 1st December 2014
Check out a review of Set to go and have a listen as well, you won’t be disappointed.
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