Vanessa Rare is a New Zealand film and television actress, film screenwriter and director.   She is of New Zealand Māori descent and belongs to Ngāti Pu, Ngāti Porou, Pukenga and Ngāpuhi Iwi.

“Leepy… the 3 or 4 years we shared as teenagers and best friends, growing up 3 houses down from each other in Kaiti Gisborne, have and will always be unforgettable, incredible memories that I will keep till my dying day.  Though we moved away from each other to different cities, and our contact with each other has been few over the decades, I’ve always felt a special bond with you, that was created back in those times when we hung (clung) to our friendship as the only oasis of magical fun.  You created that energy.  You had a connection with authentic ‘fun’ that was unique.  You were so strong.  A warrior woman, that didn’t stop to think about things, you just went out and did it.  You were clever and curious about cars and sports and music, you had drive and potency and you taught me so much without knowing it.  That’s why I loved being at your place more than anything. You were always my first main role model.  And after reading your book, I was brought to tears not just because of how proud of you I felt, but also, because for the first time after knowing you for 4 decades, I never for a minute, knew what you had gone through in your life.  I never knew you were going through all of those things you wrote about in your book.   I had no idea… kei te tangi tangi ahau mo taku e hoa ma.

And even more profound the chapter that touched me the most my dear friend was when you told the story of your Dad.  I became very emotional, and I was cast back to that time like it was yesterday.  All the moments I remembered with him.  Though he hardly spoke to me, (probably because I was a jolly nuisance, always at your place hanging around in front of the oven grill where the crumbed chops were cooking hoping you might offer me one.  And you always did…..mmm mmmm, wonderful memories for me), your Dad was just Mr Lees to me, and he had a funny accent, and he was hardly ever at home.  But what you wrote made me realise I never knew the depth of your father.  You opened my eyes to him and it was like I was meeting him again for the very first time.  I was amazed by what you wrote Leepy it was so beautiful.  Thank you so much for bringing me in touch with him again.  As a teen I didn’t see, but looking back, he was a very special man.

And finally e hoa, taku tuahine, ki Mana Wahine me Wahine Toa, I just want to say, I’ve always known you, loved you, trusted you because you are good and true.  You are my friend.  And reading your words of complexity and beauty, about your life, your journey, your philosophies and wisdoms…  I can’t put it into words Leepy; I just love you and feel very blessed that I know you.

Your book is going to help uplift and awaken so many women.  Ae mauri ora.  ACE!

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