Whetu Fala interviews, presenter roles, articles.
POI E – the story of our song; the movie, brought to life the often tempestuous yet remarkable musical partnership of Dalvanius Prime and Ngoi Pewhairangi and their journey to the making of the 1984 hit pop song in New Zealand, POI E.
Their achievement in topping the NZ pop charts for four weeks with their Māori language only pop song in 1984 is yet to be duplicated or surpassed. Ngoi’s untimely death in 1986, sadly, ended their collaboration.
Spoiler alert – this is a Fun-tastic film for the whole family and if you want to see the movie, book now at Ticketek NZ and stop reading!
An impudent, funny, irreverent and a much used word but aptly so in this case, fabulous film that captures the spirit of two very different maestro. Both with a passion for Māori language that transcended their differing tribal mita, maungā, awa and even gender.
POI E is an uplifting tale of what small town New Zealand, on the West and the East coast did in 1980’s after the main employers in their regions closed down.
Dalvanius, like the star performer that he was, sets the tone and the pace of the film thanks to Kahi’s clever use of Dalvanius’s archival film and radio interviews.
Dal’s often painfully honest analysis of his own shortcomings, the obstacles he faced, is tempered by a superb supporting cast and chorus of those that loved, feared his sharp wit, adored and vilified him the most – his extended family, the tribe. Also on hand to keep the frame in focus is Connie Pewhairangi (Ngāti ) daughter of Ngoi with her granddaughter.
There are minor roles for NZ music’s elite, the angelic divas Director/Producers Moana Maniapoto, Hinewehi Mohi along with Annie Crummer the evergreen Don McGlashan with Stan Walker, kicking the breeze with Director/Writer/Actor Taika Waititi but they are nothing in comparison to the lens of the whanau.
All however, serve to remind us that it is about the music.
And what glorious music this is, from Ngois’ award winning number one hit song ‘E Ipo‘ sung by cabaret artist extrodinaire Prince Tui Teka and re-arranged by Dalvanius to the NZ dance anthem’Poi E‘ itself.
Director Tearepa Kahi like Dal, has dreamed big, taking on a four minute long historical New Zealand pop song and turning it into a feature length film, oi aue! As we would say in Taranaki mita or in more common parlance, ‘ yeah right.’
But this is good story telling. For those like our 12 and 9 year old nieces, who were in the whanau audience, they watched the film all the way thru with no wriggling, no excessive eating and best of all no falling asleep. It seems the magic of POI E to capture the interest of the young is alive and well in 2016.
For te reo or Māori language – POI E and the issues they faced in 1984 with the dwindling numbers of fluent Māori speakers, continue to plague us in 2016.
With a predominately young, urban Māori populace with little access to 24/7 fluent Māori speaking communities, in the cities where most of us now live, Maori language fluency is accessed by conscious, hard graft and determination.
In 2016, we’ve all gone back to the language revitalisation drawing board with a focus on ‘inter-generational transmission of language’ a flash way of saying if children are raised in Māori at home – our reo will survive.
Having a home is an equally important part of the Māori language revival equation. A turangawaewae, a place to stand and call your own, a home.
It was hard last night to remember that as we celebrated the success of the film POI E we were right there in Tamaki makau rau, the largest Māori city in the world,facing arguably the highest Māori homeless population that we have ever seen.
Maintaining Māori language communities when your home is a car, garage, park and you are trying to get food for children is a seemingly distant utopia.
For all those New Zealand cinephiles out there – is this the first time a Māori key creative team with a Māori story film have opened the oldest film festival in the land?
Dal was forever pitching John O’Shea (founder of NZ International Film Festival and producer) his feature film ideas especially Mokomokai – and John would always refuse.
Last night, witnessing the standing ovation for POI E the movie as the opening night film at the NZ International Film Festival I thought how happy and thrilled they both would have been!
Tearepa Kahi has skilfully crafted a movie of te reo, music and life in rural NZ that is destined to become a NZ cult classic. But you don’t have to think too hard, as it’s playful, entertaining and just like the music – all you have to do is dance!
Poi taku poi e!
Pictured Top clockwise L-R Ngoi Pewhairangi, Dalvanius Prime (1984) Poi E the movie opening night NZ International Film Festival, Maryanne Broughton (Original Patea Māori Club member) Janine Maruera (Manager, Patea Māori Club) opening night of POI E with photos of Ngoi and Dalvanius on the red carpet. Stills: Te Papatongarewa & Fala Media.
Poi E – the movie of our song.The opening night film of the 48th New Zealand International Film Festival, Civic Theatre, Auckland 15 July 2016. SOLD OUT.
Writer/Director/Co-editor/Executive Producer: Tearepa Kahi
Producers: Alexander Behse, Reikura Kahi
Line Producer: Callie Adams
1st Assistant Director: Neil James
Directors of Photography: Fred Renata, Jos Wheeler
Featuring: Dalvanius Prime, Ngoi Pewhairangi, Maryanne Broughton, Connie Pewhairangi, Barletta Prime, Bub Prime, Patea Māori Club members past and present, Pewhairangi whanau, Stan Walker, Taika Waititi. Re-enactments: Maaka Pohatu as Dalvanius
Hone Harawira has sent out the Rubeun Taipari organised protest march schedule on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) signing by twelve nation heads, set for Sky City on 4th February in Tamaki, Auckland.
The openly public schedule also announces at the conclusion of TPPA march in Auckland all involved are invited to travel to Waitangi and Te Tii Marae.
Here the people will once more take the John Key led National government to task over the TPPA signing without a referendum or consultation with all the people of Aōtearoa.
The easily accessed and heralded anti-TPPA protest plans for Auckland and Waitangi are in contrast to what the government would have us believe. Two days ago the government sent police to visit known anti-TPPA activist Scout Barbour-Evans in Dunedin to ask what they had planned for the upcoming TPPA protests. A simple Google search on relevant websites gives TPPA protest plans the length and breath of Aōtearoa.
Ngāti Whātua ki Orākei this week publicly announced that as part of their opposition to the signing of TPPA they would refuse to traditionally welcome any of the expected TPPA heads into Auckland.
And who could blame them as although their claim with the crown is settled, Ngāti Whātua Orākei know first hand what trauma visiting dignitaries can create.
In 1951 in preparation for a visit of Queen Elizabeth II the New Zealand government wrongfully evicted them and burnt down their homes as it was claimed their village was an eyesore and would not be suitable for the Queen to see as she drove past their pā in Okahu Bay.
Joe recalls the eviction in 1951 from their home vividly when as an eight year old boy, he and his Dad were in the orchards above the village and saw clouds of smoke coming from their village. They ran back, only to discover all of the village being burnt down by men with flame-throwers and his younger siblings with his mum and elders weeping with what few possessions they had managed to carry out of their homes, at their feet.
In 1977 as a family man and leader of the peaceful 506 day occupation of resistance to the crown proposal to build housing developments on the same land Joe Hawke also remembers the day when the Muldoon led National government sent tanks and soldiers to evict him and his extended family again.
People who stand up for what they believe in against the status quo pay a price and for Joe Hawke and Ngāti Whātua Orākei who now live and are returning to live on their ancestral land in 2015 – it was worth it.
This week saw two very different native filmmaking teams who stood up and self-financed films.
Tangata whenua woman director, Tere Harrison from Te Whānau-a-Apanui is Writer/Director/Producer of the short film “Run it Straight.” A plea on behalf of West Papua people it attests that West Papua people are being subjugated to murder, torture for the sake of gold that is on their lands.
Harrison creates a visual mash up, liberally using dashes of stylised poetry sequences, poly swagg-esque elements, short drama, rugby league sports teams camaraderie to highlight the plight of West Papua.
Along the way, she confronts Māori prejudices against ‘FOB’s’ (Fresh off the boat people) and ‘Islanders’ as ‘other’ and also challenges the notion that rugby league players and politics will never mix.
Harrison blends in real life cameos from West Papua leaders and includes Māori leaders Dr Maria Bargh, Hone Harawira, Glenis Phillip Babara and many more. Yes, tragically, the harsh reality of the torture of West Papua people although handled sensitively is still shocking to see here.
“Run it straight” had its cast and crew screening at Te Upoko o te Ika Māori radio station and will be making its way into the world very shortly.
In the words of wāhine toa director Tere Harrison “This short film Run It Straight was inspired by a protest I saw by the Hunters Rugby League Club Wellington who marched to the Indonesian Embassy to call for the freedom of West Papua…….It’s time to learn the story about the people of West Papua, it’s time to Run It Straight for West Papua.”
Last night I attended an advertised by Facebook one-off only screening at Queensgate, Lower Hutt of “3 Wise Cousins” a full length feature film written, directed and co-produced by Samoan director, SQS aka Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa .
Stallone and his team launched the feature in December 2015 at a one -off screening in the Civic theatre in Auckland saying they were going to try and screen the film during the school holidays and they managed to do just that and had screenings in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland with one catch – you had to be in the know!
A heart-felt comedy with a moral it was shot mainly on location in Samoa, it follows the trials of love-struck unemployed, play station playing Adam (Neil Amituanai) from Auckland, adult but still living at home only spoilt child.
Adam invites himself to Samoa and into the lives of his two cousins Moses (Vito Vito) and Tavita (Fesuai Viliamu) and begs them to teach him ‘How to be a real Island guy’ in order to win the affections of a neighbourhood girl (Gloria Blake) whom he has never met but fancies and bus stalked.
His two cousins good-naturedly agree and set out to help their love luckless cousin become a real Samoan. All three get more out of the experience than they all bargain for.
I was lucky to get the ‘3 Wise Cousins’ ticket as they were nearly full and arrived to find a second screening had been put on due to demand. It was a packed house and I did not see one palagi (Pākeha – white) person in the audience.
The average audience age was around twelve years old and they all seemed to be out with their parents and older teenage siblings. A predominately Samoan speaking audience, the theatre laughed and cheered at all the Samoan language and culture jokes. At the end many stayed in their seats afterwards excitedly talking about what they had seen.
Director Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa ” I think people will definitely leave with a bit more wisdom, I think this film will be quite eye opening for a lot of people. They’ll find that amongst the laughter there’s just a lot more, I guess perspective. They’ll definitely walk away with perspective”
“I want to share this award with all the First Nations represented in this film and all the indigenous communities around the world, it is time we recognised your history and we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people that are out there to exploit them…..”
2016 Best Actor Golden Globe winner Leonardo diCaprio for the movie The Revenant.
Kia ora Mr DiCaprio, we accept!
Can’t wait to see y/our Golden Globe housed on our marae, some time soon. I know, I know, it could take some years to work its way thru all of the nations of Turtle Island, home crowd first and all that, but maybe we could ask Sir Richard at Weta Workshop (Oscar winning local) to knock us up a replica while y/our real Golden Globe is making its tiki tour to these shores?
My Screen Natives movie review of The Revenant can be seen here.
While First Nations the world over basked in the nano second of sudden online fame of being feted by one of the worlds leading movie actors, and ‘winning’ a Golden Globe, our reverie was cut short by the ‘Oscars no natives’ story and the planned boycotting of the 2016 Oscar ceremony.
Aue! Just when that nice Mr DiCaprio was planning on taking us with him – the whole bro’town – to reflected First Nations Oscar victory, a boycott had to come along and ruin it. Taiho! Haven’t we already seen a spectacular Oscar boycott ? And just what the hell is a revenant and what does revenant mean?
Revenant: Noun Word origin, French revenir
Stranger than fiction but true nonetheless;
- in 1973 at the Oscars ceremony in front of millions of viewers, Sacheen Littlefeather (see above) President of the National Native American Affirmative Committee refused the Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando who had boycotted the Oscars ceremony in protest at the representation of Native Americans in film and television and to support a Native struggle at Wounded Knee.
- 2016 Māori are actively opposed to the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on the grounds that it is likely to take away our intellectual rights present and past, and relies upon the good will of the government to take into account the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi obligations to Māori.
But there ends the analogy to being REVENANT for; Māori never left Aōtearoa and despite everything that has been inflicted upon us, we are not ‘returning’ or even ghosts in our land but very much alive and fighting. The flaws in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement are real and do jeopardise Māori rights under the Treaty of Waitangi.
Cheers Mr Leo DiCaprio for supporting us and bringing our plight as First Nations people into the world media consciousness for a precious heartbeat.
We wish that it could be so – but our over 170 year fight for sovereignty of lands, language, culture against all those who would exploit them for profit – is not so easily fixed with winning a Golden Globe.
Stop the signing of TPPA and Honour the Treaty of Waitangi.
Dr. Carwyn Jones, Associate Professor Claire Charters, Andrew Erueti, Professor Jane Kelsey
Leonardo diCaprio 2016 Golden Globes Winning Speech
Leonardo DiCaprio savages corporate greed of big oil: ‘Enough is enough’
In February the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) free trade deal will take place in Aōtearoa. The Ratana celebrations on 25th January could provide a catalyst to overturn the signing of TPPA. That would be a miracle worthy of the Ratana heritage.
Founder T.W. Ratana who died in 1939 was a Māori prophet, leader, healer and visionary. Known in the early 20th century as ‘the Māori miracle man’ he asked for Māori to believe in things that had never occurred before and the people flocked to him.
His influence on Māori politics and politicians is such that the Ratana movement continues to this day. Each year on 25th January at Ratana pa (village) his adherents the Morehu celebrate his birthday with services, sports tournaments and the like. And each year NZ politicians travel to Ratana to see and be seen by Māori voters.
The Ratana movement is more than just a Māori form of western religion started by a charismatic leader. Over the years, from the early 1920’s it has been a lightning rod for Māori aspirations and they have never lost sight of pursuit of the honouring of the Treaty of Waitangi.
In 1975 Ratana village hosted the Māori Land March, in 2006 the Ratana movement (see Ratana flag pictured at NZ parliament) marched against the Foreshore and Seabed legislation of the Labour led government.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement signing is another such critical moment that the Māori nation face, not the least because Waitangi Tribunal claimants against the signing
‘..allege that the Crown has breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and that prejudice will result….’ Wai 2522
but as clearly articulated after the reading of the full TPPA terms by Māori lawyers and leaders such as Moana Jackson they attest, that TPPA will advantage non-elected corporations to make profits without the constraints of democratically elected governments. Furthermore, TPPA opponents say
‘Maori will lose intellectual property rights;…..Settlement of grievances will be prejudiced (past and future); Wai 2522
The Trans-Pacific partnership agreement is modern day piracy on a world-wide scale and divine intervention is called for to halt its signing.
We may all be skeptical that a political miracle like this could ever happen at Ratana in 2016, however T. W. Ratana in his own age challenged the status quo not just in Māori hierarchies and spirituality matters but also the NZ government. In 1924, he travelled to England to attempt to petition the English King for the Treaty of Waitangi to be honoured.
The Ratana movement has also been integral to Māori women entering NZ parliament.
In 1893 Māori got the vote unlike English women who had to wage a long and sustained militant civil disobedience war on their own government until achieving universal voting rights in 1919. See my Screen Natives movie review of the movie ‘Suffragette’ here.
Although Māori got the vote in 1893, we had to wait until 1949 for Iriaka Matiu Ratana to be the first Māori native woman to enter NZ parliament. She stood for Western Māori seat after her husband Matiu Ratana, the incumbent died suddenly. Iriaka held the seat for twenty years, despite being a solo parent to seven children and running a dairy farm.
In 1972 Whetu Tirakatene Sullivan became the first Māori woman Cabinet Minister and she was endorsed & groomed for politics by the Ratana movement and in particular, her father, Eruera Tirakatene, a Ratana stalwart and the first Ratana holder of the Southern Māori seat.
The brilliant Sandra Lee who in 1993 became the first Māori woman to win a general seat. does not have any obvious links to Ratana Pa or whanau, however, a Ratana link exists nevertheless. The late great Matiu Rata mentor of Lee and of course the 1979 founder of the Mana Motuhake Party had been a Ratana Youth leader.
In 2004 outstanding political leader Dame Tariana Turia founded and was co-leader of the Māori party. Raised in Whangaehu near Ratana, in her formative years she witnessed firsthand the results of the political work of Iriaka Ratana and Whetu Tirakatene – Sullivan on her village and at Ratana.
Politicians of all persuasions always appear at Ratana 25th celebrations. This is their photo opportunity with Māori en masse a kind of ‘cuzzie up’ before Waitangi Day in February.
An eleventh hour stand at Ratana by all Māori politicians against TPPA to overturn the signing of the agreement in February is still possible.
Now that would be a miracle worth witnessing.
Te Haahi Ratana
Wai 2522, Wai 2523, Wai 2530, Wai 2531, Wai 2532 CONCERNING the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 AND applications for urgent hearings concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement by the claimants for the Wai 2522,2523,2530,2531 and 2532 claims.
Nga Kahui Pou: Launching Maori Futures by Mason Durie, Huia Books 2004
Crossing the Floor – The Story of Tariana Turia by Helen Leahy Huia Books November 2015
Dorothy Page “The Suffragists: Women worked for the vote” Essays from the Dictionary of NZ Biography : Bridget Williams Books/Dept of Internal Affairs, Wellington: 1993
‘ Iriaka Rātana ‘, URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/people/iriaka-ratana, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage),
Angela Ballara. ‘Ratana, Iriaka Matiu’, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 14-Jan-2014
Angela Ballara. ‘Tirikatene, Eruera Tihema Te Aika’, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 12-Mar-2014