30 June – 8 October, 2023
Nova Paul (Ngāpuhi) makes kaupapa Māori films centred around tino rangatiratanga and Māori self-determination. Her new film Ngā Pūrākau Nō Ngā Rākau – Stories from the Trees is drawn from whakapapa, whakataukī and kōrero tuku iho – stories passed down from ancestors.
Ka hangatia e Nova Paul (Ngāpuhi) ngā kiriata kaupapa Māori e hāngai ana ki te tino rangatiratanga me te mana motuhake mō Māori. Ko tana tana kiriata hou, a Ngā Pūrākau Nō Ngā Rākau ka hua mai i te whakapapa, te whakataukī me ngā kōrero tuku iho – nō ngā tīpuna.
Shot between Aotea and Whangārei, places that Paul has both whakapapa and community connections to, the film plays out across four screens. This moving image installation weaves together imagery and sound, drawing relational connections through a visual vocabulary anchored in rākau (trees) and the ngāhere (forest). The film continues an experimental approach to materiality that Paul embarked upon while making her 2022 work Rākau. Turning to rākau as a physical component in her filmmaking process, Paul created a plant-based developer incorporating leaves and bark of the trees that she films, using it to hand process black and white sixteen-millimeter film.
I whakaahuatia te kiriata waenganui i a Aotea me Whangārei, ngā wāhi he hononga tō Paul ki reira ā-whakapapa, ā-hapori anō hoki kia puta noa i ngā papa whakaata e whā. Ka whiriwhiri tonu tēnei puni whakaahua panuku i te whakaahua me te oro, me te whakaemi i ngā hononga whai tūapapa mātātuhi i ngā rākau me te ngāhere. Ka hono tonu te kiriata nei i te aronga whakamātautauki ngā rawa i tīmataria e Paul i a ia e ringaringa ana i tana mahinga toi Rākau i te tau 2022. Mā te aronga ki te rākau hei waihanga ā-kikokiko, ka hangatia ePaul tētahi whanaketanga tūāpapa-otaota ka whakaemi i ngā rau me te peha o ngā rākau ka whakaahua e ia, me te whakamahi hei tā ā-ringa nei i te kiriata pango me te mā, tekau mā ono mirimita.
Utilising this technique, Ngā Pūrākau Nō Ngā Rākau creates a cyclical narrative in which scenes of self-determination and collective learning alternate with imagery of rākau. In the longest of these scenes, or chapters, tāmariki play beneath the branches of a pūriri tree growing near their school Te Kura o Okiwi. On the fringes of the ngāhere they work together to create a space for themselves which they call Hawaiki – a site of agency, origin and return. This chapter was first shown as a self-contained film, titled Hawaiki, premiering at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
Mai i tēnei āhua mahi, ka waihangatia e Ngā Pūrākau Nō Ngā Rākau tētahi kōrero haere noa kei roto i a ia he kāpeka mana motuhake me ngā akoranga ā-rōpū kē ake, me ngā whakaahua o ngā rākau. I te kāpeka roroa o rātou, ūpoko rānei, ka takaro ngā tamariki i raro i ngā peka o tētahi rākau pūriri e tupu pātata ana ki tō rātou kura, ki Te Kura o Okiwi. Ka mahitahi rātou i ngā tahataha o te ngāhere hei hanga i tētahi wāhi mō rātou, kua ingoatia ko Hawaiki – he pokapū, he pūtaketanga, he waihapetanga. I whakaatuhia tuatahitia tēnei upoko hei kiriata motuhake, ko tōna ingoa ko Hawaiki, i tū tuatahi i te 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
The central thematic threads of Ngā Pūrākau Nō Ngā Rākau are drawn across the work’s chapters, which include scenes of kawakawa harvesting, fishing, language learning and storytelling. As these scenes unspool, their visual and thematic concerns are echoed across the installation. Imagery of the landscapes in which they play out – the awa, moana, maunga and ngāhere – create a layered visual vocabulary rich in connection.
Ko ngā aho whakaari matua o Ngā Pūrākau Nō Ngā Rākau ka horapa puta noa i ngā upoko o te mahi, ka kohi katoa i ngā kāpeka o te hauhake kawakawa, te hī ika, te akoako i te reo me ngā kōrero tuku iho. Ka tākiri ēnei kāpeka, ka pāorongā nanawe ataata me ngā nanawe kaupapa e puta noa i te puni. Ko ngā ataata horanuku kei reira tā rātou whakatinana– te awa, te moana, te maunga me te ngāhere– ka waihanga i te whakapaparanga papa kupu ataata matū i ngā tūhononga.
Combining an experimental approach to technique with a commitment to picturing self-determination, Ngā Pūrākau Nō Ngā Rākau continues Paul’s expansion of filmmaking as a medium for visual storytelling.
Ka whakatōputia te aronga ki te āhua ā-mahi me te titikaha ki te whakaatu i te mana motuhaketanga, ka whanake a Ngā Pūrākau Nō Ngā Rākau i tā Paul kawhakawhānui i ngā mahi waihanga kiriata hei waka whakaatu ataata kōrero tuku iho.
Ngā Pūrakau No Ngā Rākau is screening simultaneously at City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi and the Whangārei Art Museum. This project was supported by Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa.
E whakaatuahia ngātahitia ana a Ngā Pūrakau Nō Ngā Rākau ki te City Gallery ki Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara me te Whare Pupuri Taonga o Whangārei. He mea tautoko tēnei kaupapa e Toi Aotearoa.