How I walked out of the darkness

Wiremu's life turned a corner when he decided to change. He explains how he used music as a way to manage and process his emotions.

Soft piano music plays continuously in the background for the duration of the film. On a black screen is the text ‘Warning. This video contains coarse language and discussions of violence. Viewer discretion is advised.’

A close up of Wiremu’s hands, fidgeting with a pair of black sunglasses. He has dark skin and his hands and arms are covered in various tattoos. On his left hand are tattoos of the happy/sad drama masks. On his lower arm is a tattoo with the words ‘South Auckland’ .

Wiremu: “My first name, Wiremu. I'm 39 years of age.”

Close-up of Wiremu’s hands. White text appears ‘Taking Steps For Change’.

Cut to Wiremu sitting in a restaurant, in a high-backed red booth. He stares at something high on the wall in front of him.

Cut to Wiremu in the lounge of his home. There is a rust-coloured curtain in the background, and we can see a microphone and various speakers around the room. Wiremu sits speaking to an interviewer who is off camera. Wiremu is a Māori man with moustache and goatee. Tattoos can be seen on his neck. He wears a black cap with ‘LA’ on it, a blue t shirt and a black Bisley shirt over the top. Wiremu uses his hands a lot to express himself as he speaks.

Wiremu: “I've hurt my family too long. I've lost them once, I don't want to lose them again, because what you do when you think that your family is there waiting for you after they've  left you and you turn around and they're not there? You know that freaks you out. The hardest thing for me was really cutting all those ties off, cutting all the associates,  knowing that my family needs me more here than anyone out there, that needs me at their table.”

Cut to Wiremu, in a blue t shirt and his cap on backwards, on a footbridge with Chris, the facilitator of the men’s group. Chris, a middle-aged Māori man, wears a black sweatshirt and a grey beanie. They look out over the edge of the bridge.

Wiremu: “The things that helped me change was that people were starting to hear me, and I felt that my voice was what needed to be heard.

Cut back to Wiremu in the lounge.

Wiremu: “The stories that I tell are identical if not the same stories that every other man that's in my shoes are feeling. So when I did this music thing it was more of a sentimental thing than it was a successful thing. So if I wasn't here in ten, twenty, thirty years my kids still have something to go back to. I'm there, I'm still there, they might not listen to my music now but when I'm gone it'll be on repeat. So it's more or less leaving something behind so that they've always got something…”

Cut to Wiremu, sitting in a warehouse type room with a brick wall behind him. He is wearing black over the ear headphones and writing song lyrics in a notebook.

Wiremu: “…they're not searching for where am I or what am I doing. Other people that relate to it is a bonus.”

Cut to Wiremu at a computer, mixing music. The screen in front of him shows a digital mixing board.

Wiremu: “How I describe myself now is that I’m just the beacon in the darkness,  letting everyone know that no matter how hard things get, no matter how dark things get,  through a dark night there’s a brighter day.”

Cut to Wiremu, sitting in a park with Chris.  There are large rocks and cabbage trees behind them. They slap their hands together together and lean in for a half-hug (bro-shake) in slow motion.

Wiremu: “You can't sit there expecting it coming to fall on your lap, you've got to walk yourself out of that darkness.”

Cut back to Wiremu in the lounge.

Wiremu: “I've got a whole support team now that I never used to have. I didn't like support,  I didn't like praise, I didn't like people telling me that you could be better. I didn't like that.” 

Cut to Wiremu and Chris, standing in a park chatting inaudibly.

Wiremu: “I had to realise that for myself, and my support systems I do go to is Chris. He's been pretty much there since day one. He's seen my journey from when I finally decided to give change a go, and actually give it a go and commit to it, and he's just sit back and just watched. He's been able to provide a space for us to go there and be able to work  these things out by ourselves. It's not your typical counselling session, it's more of a self-check. You know, ‘check where we at, and what are we up to? If you fall down the only time I'm standing above you is to pick you up.’

Cut back to Wiremu in the lounge.

Wiremu: “I learned that pretty fast that I'm not going to have the support team for long, because there's other people that need it, so instead of sitting there dwelling on what ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’, just do it, just do something that I should have done all those years ago.”

The screen fades to black. White text appears: ‘In your hands. Change starts here. For you and your whānau. One step at a time is all it takes for progress.’