A special screening of historic footage from the national film archives of Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision will be held in Raetihi on Wednesday. Entry is free.

The special screening at the Theatre Royal in Raetihi at 6.30pm will include excerpts of the recently restored 1921 film Scenes of Māori Life on the Whanganui River and other footage that will be of particular interest to members of Uenuku, Tamakana and Tamahaki iwi.

The screening has been arranged by Uenuku Charitable Trust with the assistance of Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, the national audiovisual archive.

The historic film shot by James McDonald in 1921 has been painstakingly restored by conservators at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.


The original was filmed when Elsdon Best, Johannes Anderson and James McDonald of the Dominion Museum spent several weeks at Pipiriki, Koriniti and Hiruharama.

Te Rangi Hiroa (Dr Peter Buck) joined them at Koriniti. The scenes record games, dyeing and weaving, cultivation, fishing, the making of hinaki for eels, the setting of traps and divinatory rites such as niu and raurau.

Uenuku Charitable Trust chairman Aiden Gilbert said the restored film is a spectacular piece of footage. Through Treaty settlement work the Trust was building relationships with a wide range of agencies that could help advance the aspirations of Uenuku, Tamakana and Tamahaki iwi, Mr Gilbert said.

"The Taonga Māori Collection at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision has a rich collection of film, television and sound archives that tell the stories of our tūpuna and whenua - they are stories about us. We want to bring these stories home for our whānau to view, because they have told us that accessing, learning and sharing our stories, history, whakapapa, knowledge and culture are some of the outcomes they seek from Treaty settlement.

"There is a lot of footage that will interest our whānau, and we are able to show only a small selection of clips next week. However, we are talking about the possibility of holding a film festival of historic footage in the future."

Excerpts from more recent television documentaries from the national archives will also be shown. Mr Gilbert said the Trust wished to thank staff at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision for their help and generosity in facilitating the screening.

Photo credit: McDonald, James Ingram, 1865-1935 (Photographer): Making a lamprey weir at Hiruharama, on the Whanganui River. Andersen, N J : Photographs of scenes from Maori life. Ref: PAColl-1430-30. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22912256)