Indigenous filmmaker wants rangatahi to embrace puoro as much as kapa haka

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Rangatahi filmmaker Komako Silver's (Ngāpuhi) latest documentary film Puoro premiered this week. It's the first of six brand new short films developed as part of Someday Stories, a new initiative from The Outlook for Someday sustainability film project for young people.

Komako Silver uses film to give a voice to indigenous heirlooms.

"Puoro is a film about the revival of our taonga puoro through the story of Jerome Kavanagh. And I really wanted to look at how a Māori living in the world today is using our ancient practices of taonga puoro and how his journey is going in the contemporary world."

She elaborates further.

"We look at him making the puoro. We look at him sharing the puoro with the next generation, which is really big kaupapa for Jerome, and passing on that matauranga. We look at Jerome playing the puoro while his wahine who is a tāmoko artist, so playing the puoro while people are receiving their tāmoko and then we look at Jerome in relationship to other indigenous artists."

She says there are many topics weaved into the film with health being one of the key themes.

"How these instruments connect with us in a really deep way but also it's something really natural and really simple like going outside and going for a walk but our ancestors used these in sacred healing ceremonies."

Komako wants rangatahi to embrace puoro as much as kapa haka.

"I'm interested in our ceremonial practises outside of just pōwhiri and kapa haka, more interested in some of these other ceremonies that aren't highlighted as much in our Māori culture and that being the practise of puoro."

She says there's a need for the voice of indigenous women to be heard. 

"I really want to encourage more wahine native sisters around the world to share their stories through film or theatre and just needing more wahine perspective out there but particularly indigenous wahine perspective and media being such a powerful tool so I thought this is a good way to share my voice with the world."

Next, Komako Silver will be working with her sister on a play about female gods.