As a highly regarded Educator, Researcher and Author, Brent Kerehona has held many roles, both research-based and student-facing. Read below for more details about his academic background and professional career so far.
May 2019 - Current
Purakau Productions was established in May 2019, after the realisation that my interest and passion toward a combination of historical events and oral history warranted the creation of an entity which focused purely on historical projects.
As Director, I design and plan projects around themes of which I am passionate, with these usually focusing on Maori or New Zealand historical events; however I am also excited at the prospect of exploring other stories from a range of indigenous cultures around the world.
The opportunity to initiate and connect with people from a wide range of institutions and professions is a practice that appeals to me, so too the endless and impactful possibilities that come with collaborating with others.
The ability to focus on, and comprehensively research specific historical events, has enabled me to uncover previously unknown information leading to important and relevant findings; which have been used by the New Zealand Government, as well as by academics and scholars, artists, poets, etc.
We also welcome the decision by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, to make New Zealand History mandatory within all schools from 2022 onward; this is a fantastic initiative and will provide all Kiwi students with a basic, if not sound, understanding of the nation's beginnings.
May 2010 - Current
My writing began with several individual historical novellas based on a number of my ancestors, who had served in wars of the past. I quickly discovered that working on a number of projects concurrently was both problematic and cost-prohibitive, so I decided to focus on a single historical novel Moka, Muskets & Mayhem! until its completion before working on other projects.
Moka, Muskets & Mayhem! takes us back to the period of early-mid 19th century New Zealand, through the eyes and experiences of an influential Maori chief Moka Te Kaingamata. It is planned that this project will be delivered in an interactive format, with the inclusion of filmed re-enactments and interviews. This project is nearly completed, however it has been placed on hold due to the priority of our Hongi's Hikoi project - it is now expected to be published by January of 2025. www.mokamusketsmayhem.com
A biography based on Moka Te Kaingamata was written for the New Zealand History Online website (administered by the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage). https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/moka-te-kainga-mataa
A trio of books were published as part of the permanent He Tohu exhibition at the National Library of New Zealand, Wellington in 2018. My research was used in the He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga O Niu Tireni and Te Tiriti O Waitangi books. These books received the award for Best Student Resource - Secondary in the 2018 Education Awards.
An academic journal article Hongi Hika: A Portrait was published in the Journal of Museum Ethnography No 32 June 2019. pp. 209-224. This focused on the 1820 journey to England by Hongi Hika, Waikato and the missionary Thomas Kendall, as well as a detailed comparison of three carved wooden busts purportedly of Hongi himself.
After giving a presentation to the Oceania Art Society in November 2019, an article Three busts and a cape - the adventurous life of Hongi Hika was published in the OAS Journal Volume 25 Issue 1. This article focuses on the 1820 journey to England by Hongi Hika, a comparison of three carved wooden busts purported to be of Hongi himself, and a mention of the Hongi's Kakahu research project.
After examining Hongi's kakahu (cloak) at The British Museum in October 2019, I began an academic journal article Hongi's Kakahu: Rangatira to Royalty which is currently in progress. This will focus on the meeting between Hongi and the King, the practice of tuku or reciprocal gifting, and a detailed description of the kakahu. A first-draft was completed in June 2022, however, it is being amended and is expected to be published and available by mid-2024.
A set of bilingual children's storybooks Hongi's Hikoi: A Trio of Travelers and Te Hikoi a Hongi: Tokotoru Ratou has also been written, as an educational resource to complement our Hongi's Hikoi series of bicentennial events. The first edition was published in June 2022, and an amended version will be published in late 2023, with the aim of having these available in schools by the beginning of 2024.
July 2009 - Current
My teaching career began as a Primary Teacher, where I taught across all three Primary KLAs in both Casual/Relief and Full time positions in Australia, England and Iraq.
Eight years experience in all three Secondary stages in PDHPE, and Stages 4 and 5 in History and Geography, in Australia. Five years experience as a Primary school teacher.
Experienced in creating and facilitating specialist programs based on cultural awareness, and also facilitating mentoring programs for Pasifika students, as well as boys.
Have held qualifications, and coaching experience, as a Rugby League (International Rules), and Rugby Union coach over the past 20 years.
First qualified facilitator in the Project Wayfinder purpose-based learning program in Australasia, having attended the Summer Institute Training at the Design School at Stanford University in 2017. Refer to video Project Wayfinder - Find Your Way video (link below) from 1 min 50 secs onward.
July 2005 - Current
As a researcher, I have been able to uncover previously unknown information and contribute toward academia in a number of areas i.e. findings used by the NZ Government, within legal proceedings (Waitangi Tribunal), and my work has been published in texts and journal articles as well as online.
My research had the effect of having a musket being withdrawn from a major auction by Webb's Auction House, which was scheduled for Monday, 17th May 2021. This musket was claimed to have been the one which King George IV gifted Hongi Hika when they met at Carlton House on 13th November 1820. *This enabled the author's tribal authority to save funds and face, as they were preparing to purchase, or support the purchase of this musket by a New Zealand-based institution; and also put many Kiwis' minds at ease, knowing that this musket was not the authentic taonga, and so, lowered public stress in relation to this matter.
My research has been used in major public exhibitions He Tohu and Maori Markings: Ta Moko as well as reference materials in Secondary schools.
My research has also been acknowledged in a number of publications.
He Whakaputanga me te Tiriti I The Declaration and The Treaty: The Report on Stage 1 of the Te Paparahi o Te Raki Inquiry. WAI 1040. Waitangi Tribunal Report. (2014). p. 402. Notes. 190.
Bentley, T (2013). Tribal Guns and Tribal Gunners. p. ii.
Poole, D & Howard, P. (2009). Ataarangi Whenua - Shadow Lands. pp. 5 & 14-17.
MAI Review. 2010. Vol 3. Poems. Doug Poole.
Howarth, C. (2019). Maori Markings: Ta Moko. National Gallery of Australia. pp. 100 & 102.
May 2013 - Current
My areas of focus for speaking are New Zealand military history, Maori history, and traditional Maori cultural practices.
I have delivered addresses at ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies, and Fundraising events.
Soldier On event a success. Wauchope Gazette. 1 May 2013.
Makutu, G. (2014). ANZAC Church Service of Commemoration 2014. New Zealand Veterans in Australia.
A Portrait of a Maori leader? Brighton Museum, Brighton, U.K. 10 January 2019. p. 7.
Maori in Early Sydney. Travellers in Time series of public lectures. Sydney University. 2 February 2019.
Maori Markings Tamoko exhibition and Hongi Hika's 1820 journey to England. Waatea News. Paakiwaha with Dale Husband. 17 February 2019.
Hundreds attend Pukeahu Memorial Park dawn service. Te Karere TVNZ. 25 April 2019.
Hongi Hika. Art for Lunch public discussion. Orde Poynton Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. 18 July 2019.
Hongi Hika, Waikato and the King of England. Public Presentation hosted by the New Zealand Study Network, in*ter*is*land Collective and MOKU, at Raven Row, Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, London, U.K. October 2019.
Hongi Hika: Warrior Chief, Adventurer and Entrepreneur. Private presentation to members of the Oceania Arts Society. Mosman, Sydney. November 2019.
Why do physical scars matter? The Why Factor. BBC World Service. 22 January 2020.
Sir Hek Busby documentary Whetū Mārama - Bright Star 'retells history' Noel Garcia, Northland Age, 14 July 2022.
Hongi's Hikoi Series Launch. Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney University. Saturday, 18th June 2022.
SBS Television 2023 'Who The Bloody Hell Are We?' Episode: History of Maori in Australia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiwozmWFLKE 1 min 41 - 2 min 22
Holland America Line Cruises 2023 promotional material, as an historian, and a cultural practioner.
October 1995 - February 2005
Serving in the Australian Defence Force for 10 years, initially as a Paratrooper before corps transferring and becoming a Military Policeman; provided me with a wide range of experiences and skills in a number of areas.
Military service is a part of my family heritage, with ancestors being recognised Maori war chiefs, and European military staff (both Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks).
As a soldier, I was awarded the prizes for Most Outstanding Soldier and Best at P.T. (Physical Training) at the School of Infantry in 1996. I was also awarded a Certificate of Merit - Provost Marshall Army for my role in fighting fires and evacuating personnel during the 2002 Sydney fires, and was deployed on Operation Relex II in 2003.
It was an honour to represent NSW Army in Rugby Union (1996) and Basketball (2004-2005).