Philadelphia-born, but long calling Aotearoa her home, director Robin Greenberg has become a regular at the NZ International Film Festival thanks to films about Māori artists, the Tibetan Government in exile — and three documentaries inspired by her t’ai chi teacher, Huloo. The last of those, 2015's Return of the Free China Junk, continues the story of an old sailing junk which Huloo and friends sailed to the United States. In 2019 Greenberg followed up her portrait of Māori weaver Erenora Puketapu-Hetet, Tu Tangata, with one of Erenora's husband, carver Rangi Hetet. She has also made educational films for the United Nations.
…there’s a close connection that you develop with the people the film’s about, and I don’t feel like an outsider. I feel like if I’m doing my job like I want to, then I’m actually putting myself into the shoes of my characters and enabling them to be filmmakers. Robin Greenberg in an interview for website The Lumière Reader, 17 July 2010
Rangi Hetet was only 17 years old when he began working as an apprentice, carving the Tāpeka meeting house. Six decades later, his life and work are examined in this documentary, as his children prepare to exhibit his work at the Dowse Art Museum alongside that of their mother, the late Erenora Puketapu-Hetet. The feature-length documentary also explores the art of whakairo (carving), and its cultural significance within Māori communities. Mo Te Iwi director Robin Greenberg's earlier film Tu Tangata: Weaving for the People (2000) was about Erenora and her Māori weaving.
Team Tibet tells the story of Thuten Kesang, who came to New Zealand in 1967, exiled from his Tibetan homeland, his family and his culture. Kesang was Aotearoa’s first Tibetan refugee. Filmed over 22 years by globetrotting filmmaker Robin Greenberg (Return of the Free China Junk), Kesang recounts his story, from his parents’ arrest in the wake of the 1959 uprising, to his advocacy for Tibetan environmental and political issues. He has become a point of contact for the global Tibetan community. The documentary was set to premiere at the 2017 NZ International Film Festival.