This 1972 documentary explores the world of a dying generation of Māori female elders or kuia — “the last of the Māori women with tattooed chins”. Narrator Selwyn Muru extols the place of the kuia in Māori culture, and of wahine tā moko. Among those on screen are 105-year old Ngahuia Hona, who cooks in hot pools, rolls a cigarette, and eats with whānau, and “the oldest Māori” Nga Kahikatea Wirihana, who remembers the Battle of Ōrākau during the land wars, and has outlived four husbands. Into Antiquity was an early documentary from veteran Wayne Tourell.
These kuia, or old ladies, are the last of the old-time Māori. When they pass they take with them a whole world of experience, a part of the heart of Māoridom. Much of the Māori cultural heritage will die with them …– Narrator Selwyn Muru
NZ On Screen acknowledges the producers thanks to Queen Te Ata Rangikahu and all the Māori families who assisted us by allowing their beloved Kuia to be filmed.