Make a big difference to The Big Idea.

Help us tell the most creative stories.

Become a supporter

Te Waipounamu Marae Film Tour - Otautahi ki Awarua

Muttonbirding (1921). Nga Taonga Sound & Vision collection.


Nga Taonga Sound & Vision and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga are partnering to present a programme of over 20 moving image excerpts celebrating Ngai Tahu history, screened in seven local marae. The films, made between 1910 and 2008, feature Ngai Tahu people, land, and traditions.

Residents and visitors to Canterbury, Otago and Southland are invited to attend Te Waipounamu Marae Film Tour - Otautahi ki Awarua screenings (gold coin donation entry) from 24 November to 1 December. This is a unique opportunity to experience moving image taonga, including some of the earliest surviving Ngai Tahu films, presented in marae screening venues across Te Waipounamu.

The partnership between Nga Taonga Sound & Vision, New Zealand’s national audiovisual archive, and Heritage New Zealand, an organisation dedicated to preserving our nation’s heritage places, highlights the tangible nature of history. The films bring the past to life, and screening them in these places of historic significance – some of which feature in the films themselves – adds another layer of immediacy.

The screening programme is composed of home movie, newsreel, and television footage. Rare early images of gathering kai show whitebaiting at Opihi in 1925 and an eeling expedition during the 1930s. The early silent films are accompanied by a taonga puoro soundtrack specially composed by musician Alistair Fraser.

Possibly the most dramatic film on the programme is of muttonbirders leaving Bluff on the ferry Wairua, bound for the Titi Islands, in 1965. The film shows the difficult landings on the islands, with the birders leaping from small boats onto rocks.

A 1931 film documents the centenary commemorations at Kaiapoi Pa. Thousands of Maori and Pakeha from surrounding districts attended the occasion, and kaumatua Te Ari Pitama speaks on film as the hangi is prepared. Other historic films include: the welcome of the 28th Maori Battalion in Wellington in 1946, the opening of Rehua marae in 1960, and many other scenes featuring various Ngai Tahu marae and kaumatua.

Among the more recent clips are: a 2006 documentary on the preservation of Maori rock drawings at Opihi, footage from a weaving workshop at Rapaki Marae in 2001, Maika Mason talking about pounamu in 1998, and a 2008 clip of David Ellison of Karitane speaking about his father’s wartime experiences.

While the focus is on Ngai Tahu, accompanying music clips from a range of popular Maori musicians and showbands will capture the spirit of these earlier times.

The programme has been prepared by Nga Taonga Sound & Vision’s Lawrence Wharerau (Kairangahau: Cataloguer) and Jane Paul (Community Programme Co-ordinator), with Heritage New Zealand’s Pouarahi Te Tai Tonga, Huia Pacey, facilitating the tour itinerary.

Huia says “I can’t think of a better place to view this historic archival film footage than in the whare that represent the continuing presence of our people and the landscape.”

“We are thrilled to be once again working with Heritage New Zealand,” says Jane. “So far this partnership has included screening tours of the West Coast, Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa woolsheds, and a Canterbury tour last year. One of the venues for that Canterbury tour was the Tuahiwi Marae, and the success of that screening has led to this new tour of Te Waipounamu. We look forward to bringing these films home to the communities in which they were made.”

“The memories that archival film images can conjure up for people are wide and varied: from nostalgia, through to surprise at how different things were then compared to now – as well as noting how little some things change,” adds Lawrence.


The tour dates follow:

Monday 24 November, 6pm

Rapaki Marae

37 Rapaki Drive



Tuesday 25 November, 6pm

Rehua Marae

79 Springfield Road



Thursday 27 November, 6pm

Arowhenua Marae

38 Huirapa St



Friday 28 November, 6pm

Puketeraki Marae

5 Apes Road



Saturday 29 November, 1pm

Murihiku Marae

408 Tramway Road



Saturday 29 November, 6pm

Te Rau Aroha Marae,

8 Bradshaw Street



Monday 1 December, 6pm

Arai te Uru Marae

24 Shetland Street, Wakari


Admission cost: gold coin donation (door sales only).

Programme runs 70 minutes. For more details email Or phone (04) 8964 827

Written by

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

13 Nov 2014

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is the operating name for the New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua Me Ngā Taonga Kōrero.