Humans of Hendo
‘I feel really proud that all this work has turned into something so good. It’s important for us to know about our community. Everyone wants to belong somewhere. Some people go through their whole life feeling like they don’t fit in. I learned that photography is different from just taking photos… actually taking time to stop and look at things differently. I saw that there is some beauty in Henderson. It’s not just slums ‘cos some days it can feel like it. It’s made me see Henderson in a different light … I’m more social now (because of Humans of Hendo). I know now that when I’m sitting at the bus stop and someone needs help I can go up and ask them if they’re all right. I wouldn’t have done that before' Participant.
Humans of Hendo (HoH) is an inspirational youth-led project that uses photography and storytelling to build positive connections between young people in Alternative Education in Henderson and their wider community.
The project was set up in response to widespread concerns about youth violence in West Auckland, including the murder of a dairy owner by youths in Henderson Town Centre. HoH uses a creative programme led by photographers and mentors to introduce participants to members of their local community… from incidental encounters (like people at the bus stop), to people who make decisions about their community (local councillors), to those who feature frequently in their lives, including local police, town centre workers and shopkeepers.
Since 2015 HoH has grown from strength to strength. Participants have photographed and told heart-warming stories about the lives, loves and passions of Henderson folk shared widely in two books, and through exhibitions at Corbans Estate Arts Centre, Waitakere Library, Zeal, Auckland Photography Festival, and in countless café’s and empty shops around Henderson town centre. The project has been transformational in building empathy, understanding and connection between alienated young people and those who can support them to do well in life. It has also nurtured positive perceptions about Henderson, a town that has seen more than its fair share of bad press. Importantly, young people have led this change.
HoH is a partnership with Target Alternative Education Centre, Waitakere Alternative Education Consortium supported by Corbans Estate Arts Centre.