When Janet Grubner first saw Herewini Whakarua's statue atop the WWI monument at Pakaitore, she was struck by his "public solitude".

That was in 2007 when she was visiting from Taupo and she attempted to capture the essence of the statue and the monument through photographs.

Bill Milbank of WHMilbank Gallery was taken with the work and exhibited them in April 2015.

The opening would become a catalyst for the film Set in Stone when key players came together.


The film is to have its first Whanganui screening at the War Memorial Concert Chamber on Wednesday night after doing the rounds at DocEdge Film Festival screenings in Wellington and Auckland.

The screening is especially significant for Herewini Whakarua's great grand niece, Virginia Hina, who was able to welcome her tipuna home when the memorial restoration was completed in June 2015.

"My great grandmother and his father were brother and sister," said Ms Hina.

"I discovered that in 2009 thanks to my late auntie Hinekura Phillips - my personal whakapapa guru."

Film-maker Kevin Double became part of the story when he met stonemason Marco Buerger, who was working on the memorial restoration at Pakaitore.

Mr Buerger was one of the Goldfield Stone team from Christchurch and he put Mr Double in touch with the Pakaitore Historic Reserve Board.

The board would become executive producers of Set in Stone and chairman Jay Rerekura would become the film's narrator.

There are many familiar Whanganui faces in the film, which screens on Wednesday night.

Reserve a seat by visiting visit Set in Stone or call the producers at 06 281 3474. 300 only