Opotiki-raised Tama Waipara was studying performance clarinet at New York’s Manhattan School of Music when a freak accident (a fuse box fell on his head) put studies on hold. While convalescing, he took up singing and songwriting. Three albums and a return to Auckland later, Waipara is a fixture on the NZ music scene: known for his powerful voice and eclectic style — ‘Alt/ Soul/ Indie/ Maori’ says his Facebook page — and collaborations (Nathan Haines, Annie Crummer, Maisey Rika). Fill Up the Silence won the 2014 NZ Music Award for Best Roots Album.
“This song is called ‘Medicine Man’ because music is my medicine, and failing all else in life, music remains the constant no matter who else is there.” So said Tama Waipara of the first single from his third album Fill Up the Silence, which was rated Best Roots Album at the 2014 NZ Music Awards. The song’s beat is credited to a Papua New Guinean influence, but Jessica Sanderson’s video roams widely: from Pasifika and colonial drummers to carpark breakdancing and getting lost inside headphones in a laundromat, from poi to pop and lock — to where “love is in the music”.
Children of Gallipoli offered viewers another angle on the Gallipoli story. Produced for TVNZ and Turkish television, the documentary focuses on four young people, two Turks and two New Zealanders. All are descended from men who fought at Gallipoli in 1915. Travelling to Turkey, the Kiwis explore the battle site and meet the other two participants. Together they gain an insight into the grim reality of what their ancestors experienced. Seeing it through their eyes charges the film with a strong emotional resonance. Anna Cottrell writes here about the challenges of directing it.
Shot in modern-day North Canterbury, Netherwood is the kind of back country thriller in which few of the locals can be trusted. Black-hatted drifter Stanley Harris (one time Shortland Street surgeon Owen Black) arrives in a small South Island town, and finds himself facing off against the local bully (Will Hall), the local beauty (Miriama Smith) and the local land baron (Peter McCauley). The behind the scenes documentary follows Hall and Black on a 20-stop 'Rural Roadshow', as they tour the finished low budget feature around the country.
This episode of the Māori Television series looks at the place of the wharenui in Māori architecture. Rau Hoskins explores the origins and meaning of the structure, and looks at some iconic examples: a replica pataka being built in Hamilton Gardens; te hau ki turanga (the oldest surviving example of a wharenui) controversially taken by colonial forces, now displayed at museum Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington; and Ngākau Māhaki at Auckland's Unitec — designed by master carver Lyonel Grant and replete with dashboard lights from 70s Holdens.
This 2014 series looks at the role of architects on Kiwi building projects, as they respond to the challenges of budget, environment, site and client expectations. In this last episode of the series, host Peter Elliott asks if "architectural design can be financially achievable". He meets company Herbst Architects, and talks space, emotion and design for a steep Waiheke Island section, and a modular bach. Two fathers share the build of a John Irving-designed beach house; and a Point Chevalier house designed by A Studio aims for zero energy. Plus Elliott recaps the series' grand designs.
This 2014 documentary celebrates Māori Television’s first decade. It begins by backgrounding campaigns that led to the channel (despite many naysayers). Interviews with key figures convey the channel's kaupapa – preserving the past and te reo, while eyeing the future. A wide-ranging survey of innovative programming showcases the positive depictions of Māoridom, from fresh Waitangi, Anzac Day, basketball and 2011 Rugby World Cup coverage, to Te Ao Māori takes on genres like current affairs and reality TV (eg Native Affairs, Homai Te Pakipaki, Kai Time on the Road, Code, and more).
Inspired by Witi Ihimaera's Bulibasha, Mahana saw director Lee Tamahori making his first film on local soil since a very different family tale: 1994's Once Were Warriors. Temuera Morrison stars as a 60s era farming patriarch who makes it clear his family should have absolutely nothing to do with rival family the Poatas. Then romance enters the picture, and son Simeon sets out to find out how the feud first started. The powerhouse Māori cast includes Nancy Brunning (who is included in the interview clips) and Jim Moriarty. Mahana debuted at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, before NZ release.
Merata Mita argued forcefully that the voices of Māori and of women were sorely lacking on-screen. Best known for her Springbok tour documentary Patu!, the straight-talking director and actor later set up an indigenous filmmaking programme in Hawai'i, and spoke about indigenous film around the globe. After Mita passed away in 2010, her youngest son Hepi began making a film about her — discovering new sides to his mother as he trawled through footage, and interviewed his older siblings. The feature-length documentary debuted at the 2018 NZ International Film Festival.
This 2007 Christmas special was the final swansong of Ask Your Auntie, Māori Television’s top-rating agony aunt show. The series gained a solid reputation for dishing out no-nonsense advice from its spirited panellists, as can be sampled in the montage of clips and quips in this hour long special. As one might expect from a Christmas edition, this show eschews the tough and gritty for more uplifting subjects, including what to feed your Christmas guests. Musical entertainment is provided by the Tama Waipara Band and singer Ringiringi Manawaiti.