Director, Producer [Ātihau-a-Pāpārangi, Ngā Rauru]
Encouraged to make films by legendary all-rounder Don Selwyn, youth worker turned psychologist Paora Te Oti Takarangi Joseph became a director. After making award-winning marijuana documentary Hiding Behind the Green Screen in 2010, he followed it with Tātarikihi - The Children of Parihaka, which documents Parihaka through children's eyes. The feature-length Te Awa Tupua - Voices from the River debuted at the 2014 NZ International Film Festival. It explores connections between Whanganui river and local iwi. His suicide docudrama Maui's Hook was invited to the festival in 2018.
...Don Selwyn and Gaylene Preston are like the toto weka — a rare type of blood greenstone that if you are really lucky as a storyteller you may bump into and when you do, hope that some of their commitment and sensibility rubs off. Paora Joseph on two key mentors, on the Tātarikihi - The Children of Parihaka website
In this feature film, Tama, a distressed young man, becomes entwined with five families coping with suicide on a journey from Parihaka to Te Rerenga Wairua. A mysterious woman, Hine-nui-te-pō, prompts Tama to confront the finality of death. Director Paora Joseph (Children of Parihaka) mixes drama and documentary, in the hope his film will provoke kōrero around mental health, and offer a pathway through darkness. Niwa Whatuira (The Dark Horse) and newcomer Hera Foley play the lead roles. Māui’s Hook was set to debut at the 2018 NZ International Film Festival.
Conflicts over who has mana over the Whanganui river stretch back more than 160 years. Te Awa Tupua - Voices from the River explores connections between local iwi and the river, and how it can be protected for future generations. Working again with wife Janine Martin, psychologist/ director Paora Joseph (Tatarakihi - The Children of Parihaka) weaves together interviews, memorable images, and archive footage chronicling the 1995 occupation of Moutoa Gardens/ Pakaitore in central Whanganui. This feature-length documentary debuted at the 2014 NZ Film Festival.
In 1881, after being met by the pa's children holding white feathers of peace, invading constabulary ended Te Whiti and Tohu's passive resistance at Parihaka in Taranaki. One of the darkest episodes of the NZ Wars, it is revisited in this documentary made by Paora Joseph, which follows another group of Taranaki children undertaking an emotional, modern day pilgrimage to the South Island jails where their ancestors were exiled and forced to labour. Footage of their hikoi is interwoven with their poetry, song, art and narration.