The four New Zealand texts I have chosen are Boy directed by Taika Waititi and filmed in Waihau Bay and the Bay of plenty. The next text I have chosen is the Dark Horse, directed by James Napier Robertson. I have chosen this text because It shows New Zealand social issues and it will back up my other texts. The third text I have chosen is Wild Pork and Watercress which was written by New Zealand’s old mate, Barry Crump. The last text I have chosen is a New Zealand short story which is called the Yellow Brick Road which was written by Witi Ihimaera.

I have selected all of these New Zealand texts because they all show similar points such as Child poverty, social issues, and Independence.


Boy, the film is based in the green grass country in Waihau Bay and the Bay of plenty. The main character is a young boy who is called Boy. All of the scenes show child poverty is a major issue in that area and it also shows how the children have to be completely independent with their lives. The film’s scenes show the area the children live in and how cheap and rural it is. Boy is a young child who is probably about ten years old and has many friends when his dad who is the leader of a gang called the Wild horses gets out of jail he comes home to Boy and uses Boy and his younger brother Rockey to dig up a whole paddock to find his hidden money. Boy starts to want to be like his dad and therefore goes all bad while doing this he neglects his friends and his own family. Boy is someone who never learns from his own mistakes this leads him into hiding his dads hidden money and then his goat chewing it up, he also shows his dad where the stash of marijuana is and then this leads his father into a fight with his gang of three against probably another gang of ten, Eg “Boy you want a sip of beer bro?” “Yeah” “how old are you?” “11” “oh chur bro that’s pretty young for your first sip aye bro” this is only one quote out of many that Boys Father is caught encouraging Boy to get in trouble and join gangs. In the end, Boy is completely let down by his Father who he once thought was a hero, this causes Boy to not be able to reach the full potential that his headmaster told him to be.

The Dark Horse

This text is focused on a man called Genesis but I am going to focus on his nephew called Mana. Mana is a young Maori boy who is 15 and is mislead into his dad’s gang, Genesis his Uncle tries to get him out of the gang but this does not work and Genesis ends up getting beaten on. The film the Dark Horse was just filmed in Gisborne New Zealand, this area was used because most of the houses and neighborhoods are very poor and there are also gangs. In the Dark Horse Mana the gang leaders son is lead into the gang and beaten on by one of the gang members, all Mana wants to do is to learn how to play chess and go to the chess tournament in Auckland with the team that Genesis has taught.  Genius has bipolar and this shows in the public bathroom scene when he gets a nose bleed and has a huge freakout. Manas Father says to Genesis, “here’s one thousand dollars, go get your own place and leave my son alone” this quote shows that Manas Father wants Mana to get patched and join the gang without interruption from Genesis, this also shows when Mana goes to the chess tournament with the team and then at the end Manas Father turns up and beats up Genesis and takes his son back to Gisborne to get back in the gang. Genesis treats all of the team as a family this is because they all have their own chess pieces and when they all come together they are unstoppable. The film represents social issues such as gang violence, drugs and alcohol and also mental health.

Wild Pork and WaterCress

In this New Zealand text I will focus on the main character called Ricky Baker, Ricky was born and then abandoned him because she was very young and could not afford to raise an infant. Ricky grew up going through foster homes and got shifted homes regularly, the last option for Ricky was to go live with his Auntie Bella and Uncle Hec. At the start of the text, Ricky is moved out to their house in the country, away from the city to start a new fresh life. Ricky shows clear issues such as social issues, family dysfunction and a lack of positive role models, this is first shown as Ricky was put into Foster care and then finally transferred to real family, having no family must have affected Ricky in doing bad things and also not having any family members or people to look up to. Ricky used to suffer a lot of social issues living a city and was always caught getting into trouble, this all changed when he moved in with his Aunt Bella and Uncle Hec, this shows when Aunt Bella says “isn’t he just a little lamb”. There is a real problem that Ricky faces and that is his Aunt Bella passing away, this has a huge impact on Ricky because he just moved to live with them and got to know his family and then he loses someone who he now loves. This leads into the runaway and then Ricky and his Uncle getting chased with a bounty on their heads. All Ricky needed to straighten his life up was a positive role model and in this case that was Aunt Bella, this proves when she passes away Ricky gets depressed.

The Yellow Brick Road

This text is from a young boy’s perspective and is about him and his family going on a road trip to Wellington, or as he calls it the Emerald city. The text shows urbanization and racism this is clearly shown throughout the text. The Maori family are driving to Wellington and another man driving gets angry because the young boy telling the story runs out on the road to retrieve his favorite book, a man gets out of his car and says “you Maoris are all the same, dumb bloody horis”, this is a clear example of racism shown towards the family. The family does not feel like they belong in the city and the young boy keeps on telling himself that everything will be fine.

In conclusion, the four New Zealand texts I have chosen including Boy directed by Taika Waititi, The Darkhorse directed by James Napier Robertson, Wild Pork and Watercress written by Barry Crump and The Yellow Brick road written by Witi Ihimaera.

All of these texts include racism, social issues, child poverty, Lack of role models, Mental health, violence, drugs and alcohol and urbanization. All of these can cause families to fall apart and lead to children growing up to be the same as their adult surroundings. The list of New Zealand issues could go on forever but its how do we solve all of these major issues? these issues all of my four texts share can be solved by the children having a shift in scenery eg when Ricky Baker got moved out to the farm this straightened him up and he got to see his own potential. By moving the children away from these  issues this would give the young kids a chance to change and think about their future that they now could fulfill, this is what I believe because it is shown in all four of my texts and I have been given a chance to analysis them and think of a way to solve all of these New Zealand issues.

By Oli Prince

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. A lot of your paragraph on Boy is retelling the story – focus on discussing your social issues of ‘Child poverty, social issues, and Independence.’


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