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NOHO MAI flies to Germany

18 Nov 2020
Te reo Māori poetry film ‘Noho Mai’ nominated for the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin – 19 to 22 November 2020.

Written by

Charles Olsen
May 14, 2023

The collaborative te reo Māori poetry film NOHO MAI which was created as part of an online writing and film workshop run by New Zealanders, Charles Olsen and Peta-Maria Tunui, and the Colombian writer Lilián Pallares, during the Covid-19 confinement in Spain and Aotearoa, New Zealand, has been nominated as one of 34 films chosen from around 2,000 entries from more than 100 countries for this year’s ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Competition. The Jury comprising Maren Kames, Tom Konyves and Martina Nix will be awarding four prizes together worth €12,000 (NZ$20,000).

The Opening and Awards Ceremonies will be streamed live on Facebook, YouTube and the Haus für poesie website on 19 November at 8pm and 22 November at 8pm respectively (times in Berlin). The full programme will be available for four weeks for €7.99 (NZ$13) from 20 November via Vimeo-on-Demand. NOHO MAI is included in the programme ‘International Competition I: Precious Souvenirs’. The full programme is on Haus für poesie: ZEBRA Poetry Film Festval Programme 2020

Founded in Germany in 2002, the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival states on their website it was ‘the first and is the largest international platform for short films based on poetry. Every year, it offers poets and film makers from all over the world a platform for creative exchange, brainstorming and meeting with a broad audience.’ This year due to the partial lockdown in Germany the festival will be on the Web and available worldwide for the first time.

The ZEBRA Festival defines poetry film considered for the festival as ‘short films which are based on poems and are no more than 20 minutes in duration’. This usually goes beyond the poet reciting their poem, although Kosal Khiev's ‘Why I Write: Verses in Exile #1’ (Produced by Studio Revolt, 2011) is a very powerful example of poetry to the camera. The combination of the poem – spoken or as text – with sound and images can be approached in many ways. Often a filmmaker will work closely with a poet or poem, but nowadays due to easier access to technology and editing software, poets often explore for themselves what the audiovisual realm can add to their poetry. Animation, experimental cinema, computer graphics and AI have all been used to explore the relationship of words to image.


‘Symbolized in the bird’s flight, a group of Māori, Pākehā and Colombian creatives explore life’s journey, the longing to return to the nest, and the life-giving connection with our ancestors.’

Inspired by the poem 'Noho Mai' which Peta-Maria Tunui wrote during the workshop, members of the group directed and filmed different stanzas which were edited together into the final piece by Charles Olsen who comments, ‘This was a beautiful way to connect with New Zealand from here in Spain, especially when we were confined to our flat in the middle of the Spanish capital, and it was exciting to see how our different visions wove together. Our goal was to finish our film and submit it to the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival by the deadline of 1 July and we managed to send it in the day before! To actually be selected for the competition section is a first for all of us. It’s amazing!’

Peta-Maria Tunui adds, ‘It was so cool to see the multiple layers of this poetry film unfold with such meaning in our current times – the poem has become our koha aroha to people all around the world who are longing for their home and are unable to return. It has been a beautiful way to reflect on the courage and strength that we draw from our home people and home places, even when we are distant.’

You can listen to Peta-Maria Tunui and Charles Olsen in a kōrero with Dale Husband about the film on Radio Waatea.

NOHO MAI premiered in New Zealand at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival in October and has been selected for the Ó Bhéal International Poetry Film Festival Competition in Cork, Ireland, on 29 November, and Cinemística in Granada, Spain in 2021. Later this year it will also be featured in the project ‘Love in the Time of Covid’ edited by Witi Ihimaera and Michelle Elvy.

Still from Noho Mai.


DIRECTORS Peta-Maria Tunui, Waitahi Aniwaniwa McGee, Shania Bailey-Edmonds, Jesse-Ana Harris, Lilián Pallares, Charles Olsen  POEM Peta-Maria Tunui  VOICE Shania Bailey-Edmonds  ACTORS Shania Bailey-Edmonds, Peta-Maria Tunui, Jesse-Ana Harris, Charles Olsen  EDITOR Charles Olsen  PRODUCER Antenablue  FIELD CAMERAS Waitahi Aniwaniwa McGee, Ikey Ihaka Tunui, Charles Olsen  AERIAL CAMERA Ash Robinson  TAONGA PUORO Salvador Brown  COLOMBIAN GAITA Charles Olsen  KARANGA Peta-Maria Tunui  SOUND MIX Charles Olsen  ENGLISH TRANSLATION Peta-Maria Tunui  FILMED IN Aotearoa–New Zealand: Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Waitaha, Te Tai Rāwhiti, and Spain: Madrid, Soria

ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Programme 2020
Haus für poesie
Facebook @ZEBRAPoetryFilmFestival
Ó Bhéal Poetry Film Competition Shortlist 2020
Wairoa Māori Film Festival
VII Festival Cinemística, Spain
Love in the Time of Covid