I te wā i wehe ahau i te kaingā i ki atu tōku Mama ” Kāore te mana i tae i roto i te mera, āra, mā te iwi te mana.” This message, “Mana doesn’t come in the mail, it is given by the people” was a parting gift from my mother when I left home at 17 years of age, eager to lead my own life, full of the importance of a job promotion and the adventure of living in a new town.
I didn’t get it, mana could not be sent in the mail, that was an absurd notion! Besides, my teenage mind reasoned, what kind of person would our iwi want to bestow it on? I couldn’t name any All Blacks, Silver Ferns, Black Sticks, Kiwis, Nobel Prize winners, inductees into the Music Hall of fame from our iwi, people, I felt, were worthy of such distinction. I put it down to one of the many unfathomable sayings of our mother and left it at that.
Returning home almost forty years later and having the honour of working at AwaFM, I’m finally beginning to understand Mums’ words. My love for iwi radio stems from 1987 and Te Upoko o te Ika Wellington NZ (The first Māori radio station in the world) when as a te reo student at Kuratini Wellington Polytechnic with Hiria Hape,Lee Smith, Huirangi Waikerepuru,Teariki Mei we trooped down to Te Upoko for site visits, mostly to cook kai and or prepare kai for manuhiri. Firstly at Wakefield Street premises then when it was pulled down, over at Lambton Quay and Willis Street corner. It was an exciting time for all Māori, we finally had Māori radio and television was the last frontier. I directed my first independent television documentary about Te Upoko o Te Ika in 1993 and that documentary screened on TV3 and was selected for screenings at Dreamspeakers Festival Canada, Message Sticks Sydney Film Festival and many other festivals. Little did we realise then that it would be 16 years later in 2004 before Māori Television channel would eventuate.
Working at AwaFM all these years later, everyday, in the interviews, stories given to us in iwi radio, we have the privilege of broadcasting our people from all areas of life from science to the arts, active promoters of whanau ora, tertiary study to competitors in sporting events. These stories and lives, may not garner recognition in a Queens Honour list or the starting line-up of an Olympic final, but they are proof positive that actively pursuing and attaining mana enhancing pathways for life is the prize.
As tribal sound archivists in iwi radio, we do our best to ensure these kōrero taongā, these treasures are available on the internet, in the cars, living rooms, offices, study rooms of Whanganui and a global network via online, 24/7 for all to access.
I te hokingā mai ki te kaingā i ki atu ahau ” He aha te kai ā te rangatira? He kōrero!”
Clockwise: Bottom 2019 March Kaunihera Kaumatua Whanganui, AwaFM Board, AwaFM station Top Left: Whanganui River Landguard Bluff 2019 Top Right: Te Upoko o te Ika celebrates 25 years 2013 Henare Kingi Te Reo Māori award.
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.
Native creative women, it’s official, the 2016 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of America wants some of us in the Oscar awards deciding house!
Women directors Deepa Mehta, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Producer Heather Rae have been invited into the previously almost exclusively, white, male, older membership. They are part of what the Academy hopes will bring about a radical overhaul to one of the most exclusive and elite film clubs in the world and the ensuing annual Oscar awards.
Yes, these native women are invited because they make, and are making great films.
No, the Academy did not see fit to invite them previously because as almost all white older male members, they were only presented with films made by white men and had no idea of films made by native women or if native women directors, producers, screenplay film writers were real or existed.
Yes, social media #OscarSoWhite did work to open the doors and the brains behind this hashtag, April Reign and her update on this development is included at the end.
Yes, the work of women in film and television the world over has worked to bring this change about.
To give an idea of how radical for this institution and its awards which has been around since 1929 of the inclusion of native women as members in 2016 is;
” Last year, Mashable reported that no Native Americans have ever been nominated for or received an Oscar. Few women of indigenous descent have been recognized for awards at all: Maori actress Keisha Castle-Hughes was nominated for Whale Rider in 2002, but lost to Charlize Theron’s role as Aileen Wuornos in Monster.”
Yes, it’s a celebration for native women film creatives to have these new Academy members for its the members who decide on who wins.
But the membership diversity figures overall as published by the Academy however shows how tiny that ‘radical’ move actually is.
While as a Polynesian I am proud of my fellow native creatives and their achievements to date as Oscar nominees and now Academy members, I am looking forward to celebrating when Native Americans, the First nations people of Turtle Island, have the opportunity to be nominated and win Oscars.
The full list of new Academy members is found here.
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”