"E tu stand proud, kia kaha say it loud", Dean Hapeta's lyrics typify the socio-political messages in NZ's early rap music. The four elements of hip hop: breakdancing, graffiti, DJ-ing and rap are examined through interviews with key players in the hip hop scene (including King Kapisi, Che Fu, Upper Hutt Posse). A recurring theme in the Sima Urale-directed documentary is that local hip hop artists are less interested in the "girls, booze and bling" school of hip hop, and more interested in using their art to make a political statement.
Juliette Veber's observational documentary tells the story of Gary Peach, a teacher in charge of discipline at South Auckland's Aorere College. "Peachy" has unorthodox methods (a loud hailer to wrangle truants) but his genuine commitment to the mainly Māori and Pacific Island kids is provoking and affecting. Filmed over six months on the trail of Peach's beat, the film received applause at 2008 NZ Film Festival screenings and made many annual 'best of' lists. The NZ Herald called it a: "very moving report from education's frontline ... a compelling watch".
This NFU film visits the remote Urewera to explore the world of the Tūhoe people. Their independence and identity have been challenged by historical tensions with Pākehā, and now modernity — as ‘children of the mist’ leave for education and jobs (at the mill, in the city). A tribal outpost in Auckland is visited, along with law student James Milroy. At a Ruatoki festival the debate is whether young people should manage tribal affairs. For director Conon Fraser the film (partly narrated by Tūhoe) revisited the subject of his last Looking at New Zealand episode.
Actor Rawiri Paratene was 16 years old when he joined Māori activist group Ngā Tamatoa (Young Warriors) in the early 1970s. "Those years helped shape the rest of my life," says Paratene in this 2012 Māori TV documentary, directed by Kim Webby. The programme is richly woven with news archive from the 1970s, showing protests about land rights and the Treaty of Waitangi, and a campaign for te reo to be taught in schools. Several ex Ngā Tamatoa members — including Hone Harawira, Tame Iti and Larry Parr— are interviewed by Paratene, who also presents the documentary.
Coverage of a major event in the history of the NZ music industry — the pressing of Ruru Karaitiana’s timeless classic ‘Blue Smoke’ — is the highlight of this NFU newsreel. It was the first recording of a local composition performed by local musicians to be manufactured in NZ (in a very exact and highly labour intensive exercise involving men in white coats). The country’s biggest airlift of sheep, sharp shooting army cadets, high flying painters redecorating a Wellington church and heavy machinery being moved across Auckland by barge also feature.
This 1983 Hamish Keith-presented documentary is subtitled 'Housing New Zealand in the Twentieth Century'. Part two picks up from Michael Joseph Savage’s 1930s state housing scheme. Keith argues that as the emphasis shifted from renting to owning, middle class suburbia became the foundation of Kiwi postwar aspirations. He looks at changing demographics in the cities — as home owners fled on newly built motorways — and argues that the suburban ideal has become bland and out of reach, as New Zealand once again becomes a country of “mean streets and mansions”.
Producer Rhonda Kite, who runs Kiwa Media Group, has worked on television, film, and interactive book projects. Her first production was award-winning 1998 documentary Otara: Defying the Odds. She also produced the controversial Chinks, Coconuts and Curry-munchers and, on the big screen, Squeegee Bandit. Kite produced anthology series Mataku and long-running arts show Kete Aronui. Kiwa Media Group has also pioneered a process of dubbing films into other languages.
Producer/director Lisa Taouma cut her teeth on long-running Pacific magazine show Tagata Pasifika. She is the driving force behind popular PI youth show Fresh, and has made a number of documentaries on Samoan culture. More recently Taouma has been involved in online venture The Coconet.
OMC began life as the Otara Millionaires Club featuring brothers Pauly and Phil Fuemana. They were included on the ground-breaking Proud compilation of South Auckland music. By 1995 OMC was a vehicle for Pauly and producer Alan Jansson. Their single ‘How Bizarre’ was one of the most successful releases ever by a New Zealand artist. Written by Fuemana and Jansson (and produced by Jansson) it topped the charts in five countries (and was Top 10 in eight others). Fuemana couldn’t follow up that success, although he attempted a comeback in 2007. He died in January 2010.
The first movie from Otara-based Pele Nili — aka musician Siavani — is the music heavy story of a man trying to do right by his family and his community. After tragedy hits his family, Solomon (played by Nili) returns to the neighbourhood he grew up in, and makes it his mission to ensure his brothers and other local youth don’t make his mistakes. Originally filmed in Manukau in 2010, the "likeable, and often completely loveable" (Stuff's Graeme Tuckett) movie was self-funded — and inspired by workshops Nili ran in South Auckland, that provided training in the arts.