In 2007, I received a call from Rosa Bosch, a friend of mine in London. Rosa, an effervescent, incredibly well-connected film sales agent, had worked with us in bringing
One reason that Rosa felt we should meet was to do with Dana’s motivation for coming here. Dana and her daughter, Rina, had been living in a small town in Mexico, and by chance they had gone to see
Dana and I met and I asked what she wanted to do creatively. She told me she wanted to settle into New Zealand and be a mother to Rina. We talked more, and I said that if she found a project she would like to direct, I’d be happy to assist.
In late 2007, Dana invited me to a party she was having for her father, who was visiting from Mexico. I took her a book of Witi’s short stories,
Dana took the novella and, in changing and adapting the roles and motivations and the inner qualities of the characters, the film story became a triangle of confronted and conflicting identities.
So, for me,
That was what determined my decision to work with Dana and to adapt Witi’s work into the film. Witi tells stories that are universal in their themes and specific in their setting. That approach enables them to reach audiences beyond those who are the subject of his writing.
As we develop our sense of our New Zealandness, we often struggle with issues of ‘ownership’ of ideas, and there are some who feel that Witi’s works, written by a Maori author, mostly set in Maori communities, can only be told by Maori. I do not hold with that any more than I think that only a Scotsman could write
I felt Dana would bring a filter to the adaptation of
And, as with
So we began the process of adaptation and the eventual production of
Film production is a journey that often requires the travellers to adapt to circumstances as they change around them. The script and the schedule and the best-laid plans evolve as the production takes place — the exigencies of location, weather, performances, budget and myriad other elements all impact on the process, and the script changes as it moves through the production. The script that is published here is the script of the film that has been delivered and released in cinemas.
As mentioned before, Dana’s script and the film were based on Witi’s original novella
I am thrilled to say that I think the film Dana has made has realised the aspirations I had for this powerful story.
I acknowledge with gratitude all those who made the film
BOBE TERE-TERESA GOLDSMIT BRINDIS: I made this film in memory of the tears I saw you shed, longing for the true colour of your soul.
RINA KENOVIĆ, my daughter: Because you are the one who inspires me to be a woman of honour and always follow my heart and my dreams. Because in your eyes I find the reason and the purpose for working hard, with honesty, bravery and truth, so we can make a better world for all. For your solidarity, your patience, your always pragmatic advice and for forgiving my absence from your life during the last two years. For helping me translate, revise and correct the many pages I have written for this project from Spanish, my language, to English, your new language.
NIKI CARO: For changing my life with your film
JIM BUTTERWORTH: For saving my life the first winter I spent in this country, and taking me to hospital in time so I wouldn’t die. For being my Kiwi father and my best friend.
ROSA BOSCH and SHEILA WHITAKER: For believing that my voice as a filmmaker was still alive, no matter for how many years it had been silent. And for working hard so we can all see this film fly high.
JOHN BARNETT: You took the risk and believed in me, a total stranger with an explosive temperament. And you produced this film, an extreme challenge for all of us, and the most sacred experience I have ever had as filmmaker. I thank you forever.
WITI IHIMAERA: For your
JON ARVIDSON: For helping me with the English grammar and translation of the synopsis of the script and ‘Characters’ Journey’ document.
MOANA MANIAPOTO: For reading the first synopsis I wrote, only a couple of weeks after Manawanui was born. With tears in your eyes, you encouraged me to make this film.
JULIE PAAMA-PENGELLY: For my ta moko, the creative portal you drew on my right forearm.
JOE MCCLUTCHIE: For your dreams and for guiding my first steps into the Maori culture with your knowledge.
JO JOHNSON: For revising, correcting and improving the very many drafts of the script.
TIM BALME: For your perfect understanding of the language of film and your always precise input in the development of the script.
MINA PRIP and CALUM MACMILLAN: For being a family to my daughter and me. For opening the first gate into the Universe of Tuhoe. For crying with me and being happy with me all along the way. For revising the translation in te reo Maori of the script.
ANI PRIP and HINEIRA WOODARD: For hosting me in your home in Ruatoki on my first visit to Te Urewera, being patient and generous with me and my infinite ignorance, and for providing us with