Victory Boxing’s Paul Hampton with, from left, Laura Irish, Nelson City councillor Gaile Noonan and Oriwa Edwards prepare to host ‘Shot Bro, Confessions of a Depressed Bullet’, a one man show which will be held at Victory Boxing in mid-May. Photo: Andrew Board.

Actor brings story of depression to Nelson

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Nelson’s Victory Boxing is tackling depression head on, in a bid to “break down the barriers” of mental illness.

Highly-acclaimed actor and playwright Rob Mokaraka, will perform his one-man show ‘Shot Bro, Confessions of a Depressed Bullet’ next weekend at the Vanguard St gym, over three shows.

It has been described as a “black comedy about a very real fight with depression” which is inspired by true events.

Mokaraka had undiagnosed depression and in 2009 he approached armed police with a meat cleaver in an attempted suicide in Auckland.

The play is the product of his seven-year journey of healing and self-discovery in a bid to reach others and to recognise depression as a common problem that can be relieved.

Victory Boxing founder and director Paul Hampton says it’s a fitting show for the popular gym.

“There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t get into a discussion with someone at the gym who’s in a rut, and sometimes after a workout when they have the blood pumping, people often open up about how they are feeling,” he says.

“That’s the thing about mental health – it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re at in life, depression can affect anyone.”

Paul says he met Rob through a family member and has always wanted to see the play.

“I was out for a walk one morning and thought, why not just get him to bring it to Nelson. We managed to lock it in, had a meeting with the council to share some ideas, who we were lucky enough to get on board to help, as well as Nelson Bays Primary Health.

“The other side of it too, is that Rob knows all about the gym, and when we were talking about different venues we could use – he suggested doing it at Victory Boxing, so he’ll be doing it from the ring.”

Paul says the three shows are already starting to fill up.

“It’s a koha entry, which makes it really accessible, and after each show we are going to have some kai available in the gym’s common room and people can talk, share stories and there will also be contacts for people who need it.”

Shot Bro, Confessions of a Depressed Bullet is on Saturday 13 May, at 6pm with another two shows on Sunday 14 May, at 1:30pm and 6pm, at Victory Boxing. Tickets are koha. For booking enquiries contact [email protected]