Lucky Te Koha was a man plagued with anger, addiction, violence and crime. His tragic upbringing set him on a collision course with the law which would dominate the majority of his life with extensive time behind bars. Finding a sense of belonging and whanau within the gang world, Lucky soon developed a reputation of intense loyalty, asserting his place with violence and brutality.
At war with the police and fighting a constant battle with suicide, Lucky’s life was anything but lucky. This was until one fateful morning through a series of strange events, Lucky found himself standing in a church, surrounded by four policemen praying for him, one of whom was the arresting officer from an offence the night before.
In an almost unbelievable moment, Lucky felt the years of hatred, anger and addiction lift off him, and for the first time in his life he felt free, accepted. This divine spiritual encounter would drastically alter the trajectory of the rest of his life.
Four years later, Lucky is now hard at work bringing a message of hope and healing into the community he knows best: the gangs of Aotearoa.
Mana Atua follows the epic journey of Lucky Te Koha as he helps our nation's most notorious gangs begin to receive healing from the traumas of their past and to discover a new future, free from addiction, violence, and sexual abuse.
In this documentary, we capture moments of intense vulnerability as gang members open up for the very first time about the darkest moments of their past. The historical context for these gang members is a childhood filled with abuse, rejection, neglect, and trauma. The flow-on effect from their past has been a present life filled with addiction, anger, violence, crime, loneliness, grief, and fear.
At the heart of all mankind is the deep-rooted need for acceptance and belonging. Having grown up in gang life or being rejected from society, these men have gathered together to create that place of support and protection, albeit broken. These men lay it all on the line in the hopes of being able to finally walk free from their shame and burdens.
This film is powerful in that it challenges general public perceptions of gangs. It digs deeper beyond the surface, going past gang patches and intimidation, revealing the common ground, the desire to feel loved, to be fathered, and to know that their children will not have to suffer the same traumatic past.
For Lucky Te Koha, every meeting, conversation, and healing moment is all building towards one ultimate climax. In his heart he has a vision to bring together rival gang leaders from across the nation for a time of healing, forgiveness, and karakia. His hope is that with the work he is doing, he will be able to bring a unity that ushers in a new season of restoration for communities and families across the gang world of Aotearoa.
We are very honored that Bradford Haami has agreed to support Mana Atua as the historical and Maori Tikanga consultant. His voice will add the underlying historical foundation to Mana Atua.
We will seek to explore and understand the historical roots of Maori spirituality and tikanga, and see how and why this is having an impact on the desire within the gangs to welcome Atua into the healing process.
Mana Atua takes the viewer into a world rarely ever seen. It shows the humanity, vulnerability, heartache, hopes and dreams of the men behind the patch. It’s incredibly raw, gritty, and heartfelt. It tackles deep social issues, historical aspects of gang culture, while looking at all situations with the lens of hope and the realization that the power for change is always in the hands of the individual.
Regardless of someone’s background and present situation, Mana Atua demonstrates that even in the darkest places there can be light. It demonstrates that the power of aroha, forgiveness, and hope can prevail over trauma, anger, and hate and make a positive change for those generations to come.
Mana Atua is a feature length documentary that celebrates the power of change and forgiveness, and we would love your support to tell this important story.
Filming began in 2020, with a large amount of voluntary support from industry professionals who, like us, believe that this story is worth sharing.
To date, approximately 70% of the overall story has been documented and we are confident that principle photography for this film can be concluded this year.
To gauge the community interest and support for this project, a few behind the scenes moments and teasers have been released on social media. The passion in which these have been received has been outstanding.
"Monique's Question" which was shared organically on Facebook received over 300,000 views.
Other clips, including a promo released near the start of filming, have received between 50,000 - 190,000 organic views.
With these results, we are confident that there is a large audience base eagerly awaiting the broadcast of Mana Atua.
Partner now to change lives.
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Read letters of endorsement from reputable organisations and key community figures in support of this initiative.