Cre­at­ing su­per­heroes is a breeze

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

A new gen­er­a­tion of su­per­heroes is com­ing to life at an af­ter­school class.

Kids at car­toon draw­ing classes at One­hunga and Oranga com­mu­nity cen­tres have cre­ated a host of he­roes to pro­tect their com­mu­ni­ties.

Tu­tor Nooroa Te Hira came up with the su­per­hero con­cept as a way to talk to chil­dren about so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“I was try­ing to fig­ure out a way to ad­dress things,” he says.

“The kids are re­ally en­thu­si­as­tic about it, which is great.”

Mr Te Hira has been work­ing with his own char­ac­ter, Niu, for some time.

“He’s a lit­tle Pa­cific Is­land guy, and he’s my tool to ad­dress so­cial is­sues.”

The chil­dren have talked about the kind of prob­lems their neigh­bour­hoods are fac­ing, like lit­ter, graf­fiti, and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

They imag­ine their he­roes come from the fu­ture, where they live to­gether un­der­neath the One­hunga Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

Joelle Reid, 8, has cre­ated a char­ac­ter named Lady Breeze, who can con­trol the air with her hands.

“I like learn­ing how to draw in lots of de­tail,” she says.

Jor­win Lom­boy’s hero is the Light Ninja, who comes out at night. “He’s got a mask and spiky hair, and two gi­ant swords,” he says.

Ne­mani Tuicakau’s green­themed char­ac­ter, the Tree­man, can make fo­liage sprout from his foot­steps.

“He stomps and then a tree grows,” the 10-year-old says.

Num­bers at­tend­ing the weekly classes at One­hunga have swelled since a fund­ing grant al­lowed the class to be of­fered free. Up to 10 chil­dren are now at­tend­ing each ses­sion, and came to week­end work­shops held dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

At the end of the year Mr Te Hira will draw the chil­dren’s char­ac­ters in pro­fes­sional comic style and sub­mit them to lo­cal comic pro­duc­ers Gotham Comics.

The Oranga Cen­tre will hold a free ex­hi­bi­tion of the work in De­cem­ber.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the classes, call the One­hunga Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on 634-9253, or the Oranga Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on 525-0174

Wind woman: Joelle Reid, 8, with her su­per­hero char­ac­ter, Lady Breeze.

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