Kauri stand amongst the giants of the tree world, able to grow more than 50m tall and girths of up to 16 metres, and live over 2000 years. This NFU film looks at the ancient conifer and its relationship with people. A thoughtful narrative traces the kauri's utility, and contemporary efforts to preserve remaining trees — the tree’s timber and gum fuelled colonial growth, but milling devastated the great northern forests. Archive footage evokes the pioneer days: kauri dams, woodsmen dwarfed by felled trunks, and Dalmatian gum hunters scaling sky-scraping trunks.
In 2009 Māori Television rebooted the Selwyn Toogood-hosted 70s game show, with presenters Pio Terei and Stacey Daniels Morrison giving contestants the immortal choice: the money or the bag? In this episode — complete with web players — the road show comes to Ngāpuhi territory: the Northland town of Waimamaku. The series is bilingual; but how ever you say it be careful what you choose: as Stacey says, “Instead of a TV you might get a can of V!” The show ends with Pio leading a ‘Pokarekare Ana’ singalong. “Too much!”
This Richard Riddiford-directed relationship drama explores the restless homecoming of a Kiwi from her OE. Monica (Judy McIntosh) returns from Europe to sculptor Nick (Peter Hayden), who has stayed behind in Waiuku. She goads him into a road trip north, searching for connection to him and home. At a Dargaville pub they meet Riki (Rawiri Paratene), a charismatic poet who has left the city to find his Ngapuhi roots. Monica is intrigued by Riki's bond to his people and the land, which widens a rift between her and Nick. Caution: this excerpt contains bath tub sax.
Dame Whina Cooper was one of the most influential Māori leaders of the 20th century. She spent most of her life fighting for land rights; and, in this episode from a two-part TVNZ profile, she explains the importance of the land to her people. The former Panguru storekeeper first came to national attention in 1951 when she established the Māori Women’s Welfare League. At age 80, she was back in the spotlight leading the Māori land march; her fire and determination are very much in evidence in a heated address to then Prime Minister Robert Muldoon.
Lee Tamahori's searing drama Once Were Warriors made Rena Owen a household name in New Zealand. The 1994 film's depiction of domestic violence within a Māori family left cinema goers shaken, and Owen's performance as the resolute Beth Heke made her career. In this documentary, Owen visits Māori women and men whose lives have been marred by family violence. Men who, with the help of organisations like Homai Te Rongopai Trust, are facing their abusive past, and women rape and abuse survivors who are finding new strength in their Māoritanga.
Director Tom Gould takes hip hop to the Hokianga in his promo for the 2013 David Dallas single. Framed around Dallas rapping in historic St Gabriel’s Church, it lays the song’s urban R&B over images of the title activity — a young boy runnin' free on a Mitimiti road, and galloping horses on a far northern beach. Gould: "I wanted to film something that was bigger than just a human running. I wanted the visual to escalate in the same way that the song does." The video is nominated for a 2014 Tui Award; the song featured on the soundtrack of video game FIFA 14.
In six online promos for NZ On Screen, actor Tammy Davis (aka Munter from Outrageous Fortune) travels through the years to present classic scenes from the NZ On Screen collection. From Hokianga, 1956, to meet Opo the Gay Dolphin; to Christchurch, 1980, to get On the Mat with Billy T; to Bodgiemania, Rotorua, 1966; to channeling Andrew Fagan circa 1984 when radio came with pictures, to Thingee’s "ocular explosion" a decade later. Directed by the time-warping wizards at Sticky Pictures. All the promos are embeddable so be like Marmite and spread the goodness.
One of New Zealand's hardest working musicians, Sonny Day (John Hone Wikaira) was born in Rawene in 1942 and grew up in the Hokianga settlement of Motukaraka. He moved to Auckland as a 5-year-old and played in bands from an early age. His first major exposure was in the Sundowners, who played at Sydney's Jive Centre rock'n'roll club from 1962 to 1964. After a stint in the Māori Kavaliers (touring the Pacific and France), he became increasingly recognised as a soul and blues musician. He had his biggest hit in 1985 with the single 'Savin' Up'. Sonny Day died on 9 August 2007.
The late Whai Ngata (Ngāti Porou, Whānau ā Apanui), NZOM, had a long and distinguished career in television, radio and print. Beginning as a Māori reporter for The Auckland Star, Ngata moved on to Radio New Zealand in 1975, then joined TVNZ in 1983. Soon he was reading the news in Māori on Te Karere. Along with Ernie Leonard, he helped set up the Māori Programmes department at TVNZ, and was a key member of the Waka Huia team. In 1994 Ngata became head of the Māori department and was instrumental in creating long-running programmes like Marae and Mai Time.
This 76-minute documentary looks at efforts to restore the mauri (life spirit) of Northland's Lake Omapere, a large fresh water lake — and taonga to the Ngāpuhi people — made toxic by pollution. Simon Marler's film offers a timely challenge to New Zealand's 100% Pure branding, and an argument for kaitiakitanga (guardianship) that respects ecological and spiritual well-being. There is spectacular footage of the lake's endangered long-finned eel. Barry Barclay in Onfilm called the film "powerful, sobering". It screened at the 2008 National Geographic All Roads Film Festival.