Home is where the heart is for two cousins who jumped at the opportunity to share the Ngai Tuhoe they know with the rest of the world.

Tim Worrall and Aaron Smart are co-directing a three-minute documentary called The Road to Whakarae filmed in the Waimana Valley.

It is part of the Loading Docs initiative established by the New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air.

Mr Worrall (Ngai Tuhoe/Te Arawa) said the overall theme was based around the concept of home and he was approached by his cousin, Mr Smart, to do something in the Waimana Valley.

Advertisement

"It got us thinking about the Tuhoe definition of home which was a good way to approach things - home being a community rather than just an individual. So we had a bit of a reccy [reconnaissance] up there and spoke to some of our relatives. We saw kaumatua Beam Titoko as one of the people we could take a look at. He's an interesting and engaging character," Mr Worrall said.

"We wanted to do something quite light-hearted and fun. Often when you see Tuhoe, the media sensationalise conflict as it makes for good pictures, but the quiet, fun and full of aroha Tuhoe is the part we don't get to see often. I believe what we haven't seen on screen enough is the generosity and openness of the community and in particular Waimana.

"Beam and the whanau are quite musical as well and we asked him if he knew of any other light-hearted songs and he remembered this lovely little party song Nga Rori ki Whakarae, e composed by Metaha Rangi."

"We like the use of the waiata and filming a musical documentary, using the waiata as the narrative voice."

Mr Worrall and Mr Smart's plan is to film different whanau who live on the dusty, winding road to Whakarae as they each sing a different part of the waiata.

The lyrics of Nga Rori ki Whakarae, e tell how the unsealed road is a crucial part of Whakarae's mana that could be lost if it were to be sealed and straightened.

"It's part of their identity of how they are isolated and self-sufficient. We are wanting to honour the simple lifestyle and closeness of whanau who keep the ahikaa [home fires] going and it's a lot of work looking after our marae and keeping them going for the rest of the iwi," Mr Worrall said.

Both men have extensive experience in the film industry. Mr Smart has been an editor for a top-rating television show and has produced a variety of short films and promos for various corporate clients and charity organisations.

Advertisement

Mr Worrall has worked in ta moko, graphics, carving, design and painting which has included branding for the Rugby Junior World Cup, writing for Shortland Street, and has been funded to produce a short film in May-June this year.

"I've done quite a lot of stuff in Auckland and for me it's always been about getting a place of working and creating in Tuhoe and the Bay of Plenty," he said.

The Road to Whakarae needed $2000 in public funding for the film to go ahead. The money has been successfully raised with the help of an online Pledge Me page.

"It's been exciting and humbling to see the online response from whanau and other non-Tuhoe who are prepared to contribute to the project," Mr Worrall said.

The co-directors said there was still a great chance to help contribute a few more dollars to assist in the production of the film and help make The Road to Whakarae extra special by going to www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/1738

Watch Beam Titoko sing Nga Rori ki Whakarae, e here:

Nga Rori ki Whakarae e from smart as productions on Vimeo.