'It's my superpower': Tegan features in moving photography series spotlighting Māori creatives

'It's my superpower': Tegan features in moving photography series spotlighting Māori creatives

“It’s not just something I am, it’s everything I am."

Our very own Tegan Yorwarth teamed up with photographer Manihera Te Hei to be a part of his beautiful portrait series highlighting young Māori and what creativity means to each of them.

Alongside an UNREAL portrait of our beautiful wahine, shot by the talented photographer, Tegan shared her journey of self-discovery and empowerment through her Māori identity.

She reflected on her realisation during uni that Māori was not just an aspect of her identity but a strength, describing it as her "superpower."

“It’s not just something I am, it’s everything I am. It’s actually what sets us apart and makes us special.”

Now, she said she feels a responsibility - particularly in her job - to make sure Māori perspectives are not only heard, but also celebrated. 

“Now, being in the broadcasting space, I understand the importance of Māori voices being heard,” Tegan said. 

“I hope I’m able to navigate this space in a way that makes others proud, but that also inspires any rangatahi to follow suit and know they can hold space here too.”

SOURCE: @teganyorwarth on Instagram // Photography by Manihera Te Hei (@teheiphotog)

“It doesn’t matter that some days I don’t feel Māori enough. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know my reo. It doesn’t matter that I feel disconnected,” Tegan added. “It’s my responsibility to change that and try my best to pave the way for the next gen.”

“As long as I try a little harder to lean into it every day, I’ll be a little further than I was yesterday,” she finished. 

Manihera began his series back in December 2023, with Tegan being the sixth feature on his Instagram @teheiphotog. He also features communication designer Awatea Thomas, sketch artist Neo Tuimaseve and filmmaker Matariki Black.

“I’ve always been a creative. So for me it’s genuinely me just being myself. But I also believe ko te ao Māori tērā e kaha poipoi ana i taku taha auaha, Matariki said in the first feature of the series. "Te ao Māori has been a huge pillar in my creative journey, allowing me to adapt and express my Māoritanga through my creativity.”

Ngā mihi nui Manihera and the crew that have gotten involved, you’re all an inspiration to young Māori and their connection to their whakapapa.