Oku Moe Moea - The dream which is bigger than I am launch audio and images

Children urged to think big through art


A novel and short film encouraging children to think big creatively has been welcomed by the Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley.

Mrs Tolley made the comments at the launch in Parliament of the novel and short film “Oku Moe Moea – The dream which is bigger than I am” by author Shona Hammond Boys.

Mrs Tolley said she had read a draft of the novel, which she described as marvellous but quite hard to read because aspects were very moving.

“But it is full of aroha and I want to congratulate Shona.  It’s an absolute pleasure to be here to launch it.

“I know that Shona wrote the book, so that people could understand the great talent you might find in the most unlikely places, and how too often, children in the ‘system’ are discarded, or ignored or overlooked.”

Mrs Tolley said she knew from her time as Education Minister how the system often tried to fit children into unsuitable models but there was nothing wrong with the children but they just did not happen to fit.

“This book that Shona has written is to try and encapsulate that story about an individual child but it is really about a whole lot of children.”

She said Shona had been doing a lot of work in Opotiki with children’s art house, the murals and the mosaics.

“But just the recognition of the importance of creativity in young people and how that can bring to light so many other talents and give them recognition that isn’t necessarily about ticking the boxes.”

A group of 10 people travelled to Wellington from Opotiki for the launch, including two children who starred in the movie, kaumatua Jim Wikotu and Tawha Te Rupu, Kutarere Primary School pupils, parents and teachers.

In thanking Mrs Tolley and those attending, Shona described her book as “little but significant”.  She said Opotiki was a very poor area and she was not sure how she was going to raise the money to take the book and the film to Washington.

“But I am the richest person I know, because I have been so fortunate.  I stand before you with the voices of so many children ringing in my ears every single day as they attempt to keep their dreams alive.

“My dream has been alive for 50 years and I can see that if children can dream, they can survive many, many obstacles – especially when they step into a big dream, a dream which is much bigger than they are, especially if they have a mentor.”

She hoped that, if nothing else, the book showed how important it was for children to have a mentor.


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