Newest Māori film remake is for whānau

By Michael Cugley

By Michael Cugley, Te Rito journalism cadet. 

A Māori adaptation of a French animated film uses the principles of Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga's Whakatupuranga Rua Mano and works with rangatahi.

Tama Kaiātea (Astro Kid) is the newest film released from Māoriland Productions in collaboration with He Paki Taketake studios.

Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga descendant and film producer Libby Hakaraia says the film follows the foundation of the Whakatupuranga Rua Mano strategy.

“Ōtaki today is a Māori-speaking community. That was our main goal, to capture and produce the language of Ōtaki to the world.”

Putting rangatahi in the filmmaking hot seat to keep the language alive. 

Tama Kaiātea was a collaboration between Māoriland Productions and He Paki Taketake studios, which is only staffed by rangatahi.

“This studio is our way of contributing to the survival of te reo Māori for the world, based here in Ōtaki. We’re a reo Māori community so our whainga was to really work with our community and for them to hear their voices i roto i te reo Māori me te mita hoki, and see those films, hear those voices and identify with the storytelling here at Māoriland.”

Whānau was a target audience for Hakaraia when producing the film.

“It’s a film for the family. We produced the film for the Māoriland Film Festival and it was amazing.”

However, this film has also been distributed across the country.

“We’ve decided to release this film Tama Kaiātea to all of our kura Māori across Aotearoa, and we’re just putting it out there. They can reach up and out to the ipurangi (podcast), pull it down and share it with their own community.”