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”
” It is unacceptable for children in New Zealand to suffer from poverty-related illness at rates much higher than other developed countries; and for particular groups – such as Māori and Pacific children – to carry the burden of poverty and illness.
Every year there are 40,000 hospitalisations linked to socio-economic status and much of this is due to poor quality housing and the inability to heat homes.
Experience over the past thirty years confirms UNICEF’s view that Government policy has the single biggest impact on child poverty rates, not economic growth alone. ”
Open letter: Ensure an adequate standard of living l UNICEF New Zealand (9 Dec 2015) Response to Child Poverty Monitor Report New Zealand 2015
I had been reflecting on the past year and in particular celebrating examples of the many, many Native Creatives that were working at such an amazing level from Māori Directors, Writers, Producers screening films at ImagineNative and Toronto film festivals in Canada to Rena Owen from Moerewa living and working in Hollywood, USA to the amazing longevity of our performance luminaries like George Henare, Christina Asher , Wiremu Davis, Tina Cook who have graced our stages and screens for over thirty years.
We were collectively and individually as artists, making what we believed was a difference.
But in the wake of the release of the NZ Children’s Commissioner annual Child Poverty Monitor report citing once again, vast numbers of mostly Māori children living in such abject poverty, it was all too easy to become overwhelmed and numbed by the pain and anguish that it represented.
Our collective Native Creatives story successes were just not enough to do anything practical for the vast numbers of Native children, here. Not in Australia, Canada, Africa, here in our lands.
Nationally, the report caused an outcry for two days and was then subsumed by the tsunami of ‘how many shopping days till Xmas?’ sales, the Oprah Winfrey visit to Ngāti Whātua marae where she said after her traditional welcome ‘I have deep respect and awe (and) regard for what just happened here’ combined with the launch of the latest ‘Star Wars – The Force Awakens’ franchise.
The report went back into the ‘to do’ lists of all the usual suspects, opposition politicians keen to bring the government down, child action poverty groups, Māori activists groups in all fields, all government agencies that deal with Children.
I couldn’t ignore the report. I had to take stock because Being a Native Creative is arguably;
not going to lead to large numbers of houses being built for families in need
not going to lead to provision of cheap fruit and vegetables for below the poverty line families or
shame politicians into doing the unthinkable and ending poverty in our nation.
So what was the point of all our struggle to be recognised as Creative Natives?
Hope. By telling our stories, whatever they may be, to the best of our hard won craft abilities, about the everyday lives of our families, children and our native worlds that we walk in, is going to bring, HOPE.
You can’t buy hope, it can’t be faked as it’s eventually found out, and it never ever goes on a boxing day sale.
We are the bringers of HOPE. As Native Creatives we have the power to create dream worlds in films, live theatre, games, poetry, music, literature, visual arts as if they were real possibilities.
The immediate effect of being a Native Creative and telling our stories is that Native people can get;
Joy of recognition of seeing others like themselves being reflected on the big, small , mobile screens.
Pride in hearing their native tongue, maybe for the first time being broadcast on the web, airwaves.
Happiness in viewing their cultural ‘norms’ and language portrayed in the theatre
Excitement in native language music broadcast as popular culture
Understanding that some-one who looks, talks, lives and has lived just like them is a Creative and it is possible for them to be one too.
Being a Native Creative at Xmas is recognising and being confident that through our story lens we can envision a hope for all of us. And that is enough to eventually change the whole universe!
Ka whawhai tonu matou ake, ake, ake!
2015 IMAGES: Clockwise bottom L – R Mika Haka presents his short film Taniwha at ImagineNative Film Festival Toronto Canada, Māoriland Festival, Otaki, Dr Leonie Pihama San Francisco USA, Author Whetu Fala with Rena Owen Hollywood Los Angeles, Wiremu Davis & Tina Cook film Premiere Paramount Theatre Wellington, Māori elder actors panel Wellington.
When Cynthia Lickers-Sage – one of the founders of ImagineNATIVE attended a Te Manu Aute hui at Tapu Te Ranga marae in Island Bay, circa 1995-ish she announced she would start a native film festival. Lynette Crawford Williams reminded me of this moment recently!
Sixteen years after the first festival began and after three films I’ve been involved with have screened there, I’m going to see Cynthia’s dream come true. And what a dream it’s become, now the largest international native film festival it has thru programming, goodwill and sheer hard work, carved it’s way into an enviable position as native film festivals finest. Thanks to Jason Ryle, Executive Director and Marcia Nickerson Chairman of ImagineNATIVE board for coming to Aōtearoa to meet with us face to face and for the gracious invitation.
Ka mau te wehi!
THANKS TO Pare Keiha, Makarita & Tamati Howard, Elizabeth Spooner, Pati Umaga, Kim Muriwai, Lorraine Fairest, Kelly King, Ngā Aho Whakaari, Neil James, Manaia, Waka, Marion Wikaire & Wikaire whanau WITH SUPPORT FROM Commonwealth Foundation UK, Auckland Council, Te Ara Poutama Auckland University of Technology
Featuring: Eruera Ted Nia, Ruth Kaupua Panapa, John Utanga, Dr Ella Henry, Karin Williams, Hineani Melbourne, Whetu Fala, Sharon Hawke, Stan Wolfgramm, Misa Tupou, Craig Fasi, Will Ilolahia, Hepi Mita, Tearepa Kahi.
MUSIC: Maree Sheehan, “Purea Nei” Hirini Melbourne Trust CAMERA/SOUND Merenia Tierney Henry, Reece Howard EDITORS Reece Howard, Whetu Fala EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS Hōhepa Spooner, Dr Ella Henry DIRECTOR/PRODUCER Whetu Fala