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The Russians are Coming

Television (Full Length) – 2011

This documentary examines an unusual Aotearoa first encounter: between Māori and Russians in 1820, when Queen Charlotte Sound was visited by Fabian Bellingshausen aboard the sloop the Vostok. Alongside reenactments of crew diaries, presenter Moana Maniapoto gets a history lesson from Tipene O'Regan, and visits Russia to look at traded taonga and archive material — and also find out what the famed Antarctic discoverer was doing in Ship Cove shortly after Napoleon was sent packing from Moscow. The doco screened on Māori TV and at Australia's Message Stick Festival.

We travel to Russia to find the taonga that were traded when the Russians visited. Taonga that tell us of a people that no longer exist because Te Rauparaha came to the sounds several years after the Russian visit and annihilated the inhabitants of that area. The only remaining memory of these people are the taonga that exist in these Russian museums.
– Producer and director Toby Mills

Produced by

Tawera Productions


Tawera Productions