DAVE Barrett works on a bird as Tui Keenan watches on. Photos supplied

THE first episode of a new hunting television programme features an Eastern Bay couple.

Tonight is the premiere of Hunting With Tui, a Maori Television series that features “a unique female and whanau take on the always popular hunting shows”.

The premiere is made extra special in that Eastern Bay couple Mawera Karetai and Dave Barrett are featured in the show.

Host, mum-of-five and former police officer Tui Keenan is taking us into the back country in order to help fill the freezer.

In a recent interview with the Gisborne Herald, Mrs Keenan reveals that while she was a police officer for eight years, it’s only recently that she took up hunting.

She said that filming for the TV show had brought another watershed moment as she climbed Mount Hikurangi.

“I grew up in an overwhelmingly pakeha environment in Christchurch and I came through into adulthood believing Maori were inferior,” she said.

“The day I climbed the mountain was a beautiful spiritual moment.”

Something clicked inside of her and she discovered who she was as a Maori woman.

“I was crying, but it was a good cry. It was because I had recognised the truth, that I’d been believing a lie for so long,” Mrs Keenan said.

“I call myself a born-again Maori now because of that moment on my mountain. Life just hasn’t been the same since. It was like that lie about Maori being inferior exploded.”

Mrs Keenan said she was inspired by the Eastern Bay couple’s self-sufficient lifestyle, which means they never buy meat.

“Small game such as turkeys, peacocks and goats are all on the menu and the experience ends with a remarkable hakari,” she said.

“Dave and Mawera have a pest-culling business and nothing goes to waste with them eating their kills and selling feathers to artists all around the world.”

Mrs Karetai said she and her husband had loved doing the show.

“We’ve been on several TV shows now,” she said. “It’s great, we get to celebrate our mates, who give their weekends to come hunt with us.”

The programme is also about the next generation of kids learning how to feed their families.

“They are all learning how to hunt, process and cook their food,” Mrs Karetai said.

“It’s just great, we get the opportunity to share our knowledge and excitement about wild food.”

In this 10-part series we will follow Mrs Keenan showcasing hunting from a female perspective as she heads into the bush, rivers and sea with her five daughters, aged five to 18, and her police officer husband in tow.

The show airs at 9pm tonight on Maori Television and on demand at Maoritelevision.com.