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  1. Full length short film.


Sima Urale’s debut short film, beautifully realised in black and white, tells the story of a young Samoan boy who is expected to play guardian to his siblings. As his parents struggle in their new country, he is overwhelmed by the responsibility. When faced with his grief, the adults fail to recognise his pain. Poignant attention to details that convey a child’s perspective (eg. the movement of a spacies game and shopping trolley are intercut) saw O Tamaiti win awards at film festivals around the globe, including the prestigious Silver Lion at Venice.


A perspective by Glenis Giles 31.08.2008

Tino, the eldest child of a Samoan immigrant family, has the job of looking after his siblings while his parents struggle with their new lives and work in New Zealand. 

O Tamaiti is told from 11-year-old Tino's point of view ...

Read more ›

Director's Perspective by Sima Urale 21.10.2008

Inspired by my own experience as a child growing up surrounded by relatives struggling with Samoan and Western cultures, O Tamaiti, is about the unconditional bond among children in Pacific Island families.

The story is seen ...

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Credits (12)

 Sima Urale
 Kara Paewai
 Pele T Tui

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Comments (14)



This film is so moving. I watched it from the perspective of any child of any culture where the parents don't recognise their own childs pain. It's a phenomenon I will never understand, that will never go away. Beautiful film, beautiful children, deeply moving. Loved it, thank you.

 Imoamaua Setefano

Imoamaua Setefano

I write this comment not fully aware of the immediate readership or the impact that my reflections may have, as I have yet to read a study on the effectiveness of such comment boards. But something about this film has compelled to write anyway. I first thank Sima for a job well done. I am involved in research that at the heart attempts to deal with the issues that you have raised in your short film. Issues surrounding migration and assimilation, family and culture, language and identity, church and community, etc. I was also intrigued with how you saw what you were trying to achieve. You said that it was from the perspective of the children, but I believe it was more from the perspective of God, without a commentary on what God is doing or saying. Unless of course it is a 'flash-back' for your main character, which is a different story all together. Such a perspective intrigues me, especially when your film climaxes in the death of the child and of the silencing of the children and their subsequent exit from the church. It spoke volumes about what the church has been doing, and where it still is regards to contemporary social issues in many respects. The children are still 'shushed' in our churches, and consequently we drive them away. Why wasn't there a minister doing visitations? Where was the pastor helping the family settling in? I am immensely grateful for the questions you raised for me in your short film. May God continue to bless you in your work and may your continue to challenge our perspectives as migrants continually trying to adjust in a changing world! Manuia!

 obey skuxx

obey skuxx

this film is sad.....
wel i felt sorry for the children coz most of the time their parents are not at home...whereby their elder son had to look after the yonger siblings,.....



im the little naughty boy in this film. still cant believe how young i was to play that role. good memories. :)



is this a full movie...can you let me know if it is and where i can get the dvd from ....i loved it soooooo much email address for you to reply is ...thank you

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Collections.   See all collections ›  

Included in:

 NZ Short Film Collection

ScreenTalk  See all interviews › 

Related interviews:

 Interview with Sima Urale

Director Sima Urale discusses being a South Pacific filmmaker with NZ On Screen's Clare O'Leary: from the immigrant experience in Aotearoa (...


They did not have a voice. We had to be down there with them to see what was going through their heads. The camera stayed on their faces as everything happened around them. [...] I chose black and white because it stripped away many of the stereotypes surrounding Pacific culture – all the colour and the clichés of laughing, dancing colourful Islanders – and also made the story timeless, one that could have taken place today or 10 years ago. 
...O Tamaiti is about the unconditional bond among children in Pacific Island families. 


1996 Venice Film Festival
Silver Lion for Best Short Film

1996 Chicago International Film Festival
Silver Plaque for Best Short Film

1996 Asia Pacific Film Festival
Best Short Film

1996 TV Guide New Zealand Film and Television Awards
Best Short Film

1996 Aspen Film Festival (United States)
Special Recognition Award

1996 Flickerfest International Short Film Festival (Australia)
Best Screenplay: for O Tamaiti