All Blacks give short film stamp of approval

By Ellen Irvine

A six-year labour of love has come to fruition for a Tauranga teacher who has created a short film about the 1888 Natives rugby tour.
Tauranga Boys' College English and media studies teacher Pere Durie and his brother Meihana wrote and directed a film about the New Zealand Natives, who became the first rugby team to tour beyond Australia in 1888.

The film, Warbrick, centres around Joe Warbrick, the Matata man who captained the team on their epic journey, in which they played 107 games over 17 months.
The brothers received Film Commission funding for the 12-minute film, and now Mr Durie has received a $4000 scholarship from Rothbury Financial Services to make his next film.
And they've had the tick of approval from some of the toughest critics of all - the All Blacks. Last week the Duries arranged a special screening for the All Blacks ahead of their test against Australia in Wellington.
"I like to think it helped them on Saturday night," Mr Durie said with a grin.
" For us there was always going to be two really crucial audiences - the Warbrick whanau and the All Blacks.
"If it's no good, these two groups will let us know."
Following a successful screening at the Matata rugby club for Joe Warbrick's descendants, Mr Durie waited for the All Blacks' response.
"It was really positive, there was a lot of interest from them. Richie McCaw and Piri Weepu both knew abut the Natives.
"Some of them found it enlightening. They didn't know they toured for that long or that they were away for so long, and they were amazed at the hardships they faced."
Warbrick also screened at the New Zealand Film Festival in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, before the movie Tyson.
Making a film had always been a dream for Mr Durie and his Palmerston North-based brother, who were both rugby and movie buffs.
"We knew this story and thought it would be a good film," Mr Durie said.
"The fact it is not widely known is a shame.

We always believed in the story and the power of the tour.

 "Their legacy is really strong in New Zealand rugby, and I don't think they have got the recognition they deserved.
"There are so many stories that came out of this tour, that the hard thing for us was trying to condense the tour and the story of the Natives into a short film."
The film, which starred Calvin Tuteao as Joe Warbrick, was made on a shoe-string during the school holidays in Wellington.

Funding was tight, so  the Durie brothers ended up acting in the film, as did their brother-in-law and some of their mates.

Now Mr Durie, in his early 30s, wants to use his scholarship money to make a feature film with his brother.

"Now the pressure's on to come up with another one [film] while we've got some traction with Warbrick."
While he was keeping his ideas under wraps, they were likely to be similar Kiwi stories.
"I believe the industry term is, 'they're in development'," he said.
"In terms of New Zealand history, there are so many stories like this that are unknown and untold."
Mr Durie said short films act as a "calling card" to feature films, and there was the possibility of screening Warbrick at international film festivals.
"In an ideal world, we would get into big festivals around the world, like Sundance, Venice and Cannes, but that's out of our hands.
"If we get there, awesome, if we don't, we can't do much about it.
"It's for New Zealanders - it's a Kiwi story that not a lot of people know about."
Mr Durie  is working with Creative Tauranga on  arranging a screening in Tauranga.
 
 
 

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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