Once Bitten Premieres on Maori Television

Blended and step families, cross-cultural marriages or extended whanau – heavy family baggage often accompanies one or both partners into love the second-time round.

Four couples who have risen to the challenge to find their ‘happily ever after’ share their stories, past and present, in ONCE BITTEN, a two-part documentary that premieres on Maori Television on Wednesday August 5 at 8:30 PM.

Spanning three Australian cities and a rural New Zealand town, the series goes to the heart of what makes a second-time round relationship work – or fall apart – and in doing so, reveals a broader picture of love in modern times.

ONCE BITTEN launches a new New Zealand On Air documentary season, ‘Knowing Ourselves, Knowing Each Other’. It is also the first time Maori Television has taken part in a co-production with Australian multi-cultural broadcaster SBS.

Writer/ producer Janette Howe, whose Auckland-based company Caravan Productions co-produced the two-part programme with Circe Films in Australia, says she has always been in interested in family.

“Family is one of the ways people of different cultures and backgrounds come together, so this felt like an opportunity to look at families from different walks of life and cultures beyond the classic ‘Brady Bunch’ family,” she says.

“Through personal stories we look at what people have to overcome to stay together – and whether it is worth the struggle.”

ONCE BITTEN is no Hollywood sitcom – this is the stuff of real life. Claudia and Tamai live in Dannevirke, where he was born and bred and still has a large extended family. They’ve spent “eight years arguing” and overcoming their past hurts.

Across the Tasman, for Sydney couple Graham and Lisa, life is a constant battle starting with children, visiting rights and financially tough times. Larne and Craig of Brisbane are about to get married after both coming out of relationships with children. Melbourne couple Andrew and Jamel are trying to embrace cultural differences despite her family’s opposition.

Paula Whetu Jones (Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngati Porou), whose credits include award-winning documentary Gang Girls, Mama Tere and Tatai Hono, directed the New Zealand component of the documentary.

Jones hadn’t anticipated ONCE BITTEN would be such a personal journey.

“It made me think hard about my own experiences,” she says. “Hopefully this doco makes people think about their past relationships and moves them to do something about fixing things up, especially if there are kids involved.”

Episode One: Baggage and Beginning (August 5 at 8:30 PM)

Love the second-time round is about new beginnings, renewed hope and expectations, but can the baggage and pain of the past be overcome to make a fresh start?

Episode Two: Conflict and Complications (August 12 at 8:30 PM)

Love the second time is much more complicated than two people coming together – with ex-partners, step-children, the courts, financial pressures and new family dynamics – how do you survive?

Tune in to Maori Television and share the happiness, tears and frustrations that come with love, the second time round in ONCE BITTEN, starting Wednesday August 5 at 8:30 PM.

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