This short film draws on a key incident in the life of Te-Ao-kapurangi, a woman of mana for Te Arawa's people. In the late nineteenth century, Aotearoa was in the grip of a 'musket war'; firearms were having a devastating effect in tribal battles. Hongi, a Ngāpuhi chief, leads a well-armed assault on a rival Te Arawa tribe. Te Ao-kapurangi (Stephanie Grace) challenges Hongi and uses her wits, not a gun, to save her people. Invited to prestigious French festival Clermont-Ferrand, the film marked a rare drama directing credit for the late Tama Poata, writer of landmark Māori film Ngāti.
I don't know if we won or lost.– Ngāpuhi chief Hongi (Lawrence Wharerau) realises he has been outmanoeuvred by Te-Ao-kapurangi
Te Hokioi Films
Made with funding from the Short Film Fund of the NZ Film Commission, and Te Māngai Pāho