Māori Arts & Culture No. 1 - Carving & Decoration

Television, 1962 (Full Length)

This 1962 National Film Unit production is a comprehensive survey of the history and (then) state of Māori carving. Many taonga are filmed on display at Wellington’s Dominion Museum, and the design aspects of ‘whakairo’ are examined, from the spiral motif to the origin of iconic black, red and white colouring. Finding reviving tradition in new “community halls”, the film shows the building of Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt in 1960, recording the processes behind woven tukutuku panels and kowhaiwhai patterns, as the tapping of mallets provides a percussive presence.

Mo Te Iwi: Carving for the People

Film, 2019 (Trailer)

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.

Te Māori - A Celebration of the People and their Art

Short Film, 1985 (Full Length)

After kicking off with 'Poi-E' and the opening of landmark exhibition Te Māori in New York, this documentary sets out to summarise the key elements of Māori culture and history in a single hour. Narrator Don Selwyn ranges across past and (mid 80s) present: from early Māori settlement and moa-hunting, to the role of carvings in "telling countless stories". There are visits to Rotorua's Māori Arts and Crafts Institute and a Sonny Waru-led course aimed at getting youth in touch with their Māoritanga. The interviews include Napi Waaka and the late Sir James Hēnare.   

Koha - Te Māori, a Cloak of Words

Television, 1984 (Full Length)

This episode of Koha episode looks at the milestone Te Māori exhibition of Māori art. The exhibition toured the United States in 1984, opened up a world of Māori taonga to international audiences, and returned home to applause and swelling Māori pride. The episode features the powhiri at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, with future Māori Party co-leader Pita Sharples leading a kapa haka performance.  Koha - a weekly, 30 minute programme broadcast in English - was the first regular Māori programme shown in primetime, and provided a window into te ao Māori.  

Toi Māori on the Map

Television, 2006 (Full Length)

In 2006 the two-year long Pasifika Styles exhibition launched at Cambridge University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The show was ground-breaking for confronting the contentious origins of the museum's Pacific artefacts, by inviting 15 contemporary Māori and Pacific artists over to show works and "revitalise the taonga" already on display. Shown on Māori Television, this documentary follows two of the artists, George Nuku and Tracey Tawhiao, from K Road to the cloisters of Cambridge to collaborate with objects, curators, fellow artists and scholars.

Pacific Viewpoint - Guide Bubbles interview

Television, 1979 (Excerpts)

This 1979 episode of Pacific Viewpoint features Guide Bubbles — aka Dorothy Huhana Mihinui — who showed guests around Rotorua's hot pools at Whakarewarewa for close to half a century. She talks about how tourism has changed at the pools over the years, and reminisces about famed guides Rangi and Bella. At the time of the interview Mihinui was the senior guide, having been promoted after Rangi’s passing in 1970. After her 1985 retirement she was made an MBE, then a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. The beloved guide died in June 2006. 

Roseworld '71

Short Film, 1972 (Full Length)

In November 1971 more than 70,000 visitors converged on Hamilton over six days for the first ever World Rose Convention. What's in a name? Well it can help you locate favourite flowers in the vast exhibition, but "form, substance and freshness" rule as this NFU short film shows the meticulous preparation, judging and reactions. Side-trips for international visitors to Paradise Valley and Rotorua's thermal areas add a travelogue element. But from the opening time-lapse shot of a blooming rose it's clear what these 'rosarians' are there for.

Nia's Extra Ordinary Life - 10, Diorama (Episode 10)

Web, 2014 (Full Length Episode)

In this tenth episode of Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life, things turn from good to bad in the town of Tinopai. Nia has finished her entry for the local art competition, a beautiful painted diorama of Tinopai, and takes it to show her friend Hazel. Thoughts of fame after winning the art competition inspire references to X-Factor and Lorde. Before Nia can get to Hazel’s however, an incident involving Isabella at the petrol station literally turns things upside down. A second series of Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life was made in 2015.

Koha - Te Māori Guard, New York

Television, 1985 (Full Length)

Regular Māori programmes started on TVNZ in 1980 with Koha, a weekly, 30 minute programme broadcast in English. It was the first regular Māori programme shown in primetime. This episode gets two unique perspectives on the milestone Te Māori exhibition of Māori art. It interviews "American tangata whenua": noted Iroquois artist Peter Jemison, and John Kaaho (Tuhoe), security guard for the exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Te Māori toured the United States in 1984 and opened up a world of Māori taonga to international audiences.

Kaleidoscope - Theo Schoon

Television, 1982 (Full Length)

This 1982 Kaleidoscope report interviews artist Theo Schoon, on his return to New Zealand after a decade in Sydney and Bali. Schoon was a pioneer as a Pākehā engaging with Māori design, melding modernist and Māori motifs (e.g. moko and kowhaiwhai patterns). He discusses his earlier estrangement from the New Zealand art world ("talking to the deaf"), his eight years documenting Māori cave drawings ("art galleries of a sort, art galleries that I'd never been conscious of"), growing and carving gourds, and being inspired by Rotorua’s geothermal activity. Schoon died in 1985.