Hone Tuwhare’s mokopuna reviving his poem to learn more about him

By Marena Mane

A poem, written by Hone Tuwhare, Wind Song and Rain, is now the name of a short film, just released on the Loading Docs website.

Hone Tuwhare's mokopuna, Manaia Tuwhare-Hoani, is the subject of the film, and also a poet.

The film tells the story of her quest to connect with the koro she never knew, and share the poetry with the next generation of Tuwhares.

Tuwhare-Hoani, and the film's director, Matariki Bennett are both part of the award-winning spoken word group, Ngā Hine Pūkōrero, and, as friends, decided to make a documentary.

Bennett says, “As soon as Manaia and I talked about it, it was just like, we've got to make this.”

In the film, Tuwhare-Hoani visits her koro's house in Otepoti and she recalls this moment as very “natural.”

Koro would be proud

“It felt very necessary and quite calming,” Tuwhare-Hoani says.

Tuwhare-Hoani says the most memorable moment of her koro was attending his tangi, helping out in the kitchen, and learning stories through her whānau.

“A lot of cheeky stories here and there. A few serious ones, a lot about his poetry,” Tuwhare-Hoani recalls.

According to Tuwhare-Hoani, people say that her koro would be very proud of her, where she's come, and “he would just love my poetry in Māori,” she says.

Bennett made a short film, Tōku Reo, a couple of years ago, and has written for the TV series, Ahikaaroa since graduating from film and TV school in 2019 and she says the documentary came to her naturally, and working with Manaia and their team was beautiful and organic.

“What I took away from it was just a sense of calm, like learning to be calm in your work and just let things happen as they happen because you know that's where the magic is made,”  Bennett says.

Tuwhare-Hoani says that learning to know her great-grandfather through the documentary has helped her to mature and grow into the person she wants to become.

Tuwhare-Hoani says, “I feel like it had one of the biggest impacts on my life, learning English and learning how to read through his poems.”

Tuwhare-Hoani and Bennett say they are to release a poem through Ngā Hine Pūkōrero next month dedicated to breast cancer awareness month.

Wind Song and Rain has been released as part of the latest season of Loading Docs. You can watch this and other short documentaries at www.loadingdocs.net