Making Good Men
Monday 25 July 9.30pm
After a violent interaction when they were at high school together, former All Black Norm Hewitt and actor Manu Bennett come together to talk about Making Good Men, a moving documentary that explores their pasts, forgiveness, and moving forward.
Why did you want to be part of this documentary?
Norm: For me it’s been a long journey. So in 1999 when I found myself in a position to reflect back on what I was doing in my life I realised I had to change a few things - actually a lot of things. That enabled me to start looking reflectively into what I’ve done and what I want to do moving forward, and that was a critical point … As part of that, I kept wondering about meeting people that I had come in contact with along the way, physically.
Did you ever think about how things would go if you bumped into Manu?
Norm: I always thought to myself ‘OK, what would I do if I ever crossed paths with Manu? What would I say?’ And then a couple of years ago, the family and I were returning from Queenstown and I walked into the Koru Lounge, and Manu’s sitting right at the front … I found the opportunity to walk across and say ‘Manu’, and in conversation say ‘mate, I’m really sorry for that moment’. And we connected.
How did the incident at high school affect you?
Manu: Everybody carries wounds – everybody. The idea of victims and bullies exists not only in schools but in families and workplaces; it’s kind of survival of the fittest out there … then came my experience with Norm and it sat with me for many years. Because I’ve had a lot of tough times in my own life, losing my mum and brother quite young, I’ve always felt that there’s absolutely more to people. The catalyst of Norm and my conflict was that I got selected automatically when I arrived at Te Aute College because I had a hurdles record in Australia. The school principal selected me for the 1st XV even before I arrived there. But it’s all to do with this – everyone’s got their story and complexities as to why they behave. It’s when you allow yourself to truly understand others, truly have empathy and acknowledge that everyone’s a victim and everyone’s a bully to some extent.
Talk about how an apology and forgiveness impacted you in this situation.
Manu: To me, an apology and forgiveness are two of the most powerful elements that a human can experience, in terms of looking for a change and looking for growth. When Norm offered me that apology, it was like all of a sudden all of this hostility and tension just broke away like unneeded rust. We could talk about our childhood and about our families and common things, like were both of mixed blood we both have Maori and Pakeha parents which creates its own dynamic and struggle with which way you identify.
What do you hope will come from this documentary?
Norm: It’s an opportunity to start a conversation that’s long overdue and we just happened to be in that place and the right time to be the catalyst of that … I thought I was doing this for me and my family and for connecting two families. But actually it’s bigger than that and that’s the privilege of having this opportunity.
If you would like to talk to someone about the issues raised in this programme you can contact:
0508 744 633
|It’s Not OK
0800 456 450
0800 37 66 33
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