Weekly Review No. 332 - Hokianga ... Backblock Medical Service

Short Film, 1948 (Full Length)

This NFU film looks at the challenges of delivering health services to the large, sparsely populated Hokianga district after World War II. The Weekly Review doesn’t flinch from facing the poverty and poor housing of the mostly Māori population. District nurses carry much of the burden, and doctors and nurses from Rawene Hospital travel by car, foot, boat and horseback to attend clinics and emergencies; including the legendary Dr George McCall Smith — responsible for setting up the Hokianga Special Medical Area. The film’s score was composed by Douglas Lilburn.

Motormania - Episode One

Television, 1998 (Full Length Episode)

In the first of this two-part documentary about Kiwis and cars, actor Rima Te Wiata sets off on a road tour of New Zealand. Starting in the South Island, Te Wiata learns about the first bus tours to Aoraki, which were handled by the Mount Cook Motor Company. Then she travels to Westport via the infamous Hawks Crag, and hears from locals about the difficulties and dangers of transit before the introduction of cars. A trip back up the country takes Te Wiata to Northland, where the locals suggest they may have been better off when the primary mode of transport was by boat.

Heartland - Hokianga

Television, 1993 (Full Length Episode)

In this full-length Heartland episode, Gary McCormick travels to the Hokianga in Northland, where he attends the annual rowing regatta in the town of Horeke. Locals compete in ironman (swimming, running and... woodchopping), before McCormick delves into the region’s logging past and sees local bone carvers at work. He also visits the Motuti Marae, then drives on to Panguru where he interviews local resident and Māori land march leader Dame Whina Cooper. The programme (gently) reflects on Māori and Pākehā race relations in the area.

Artist

Sonny Day

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.

Restoring the Mauri of Lake Omapere

Film, 2007 (Full Length)

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.