Local film-mak­ers cre­ate Waru

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BAYLEY MOOR

New Zealand has the worst rate of child abuse in the de­vel­oped world, and a film aim­ing to open dis­cus­sions around these ap­palling sta­tis­tics fea­tures film­mak­ers from the Far North.

weaves eight short films into one, shar­ing the per­spec­tives of eight char­ac­ters deal­ing with the loss of Waru, a small boy, at the hands of his care­giver. Casey Kaa, from Matauri Bay, wrote and di­rected one of the ten-minute se­quences for the film which shares the story of Waru’s teacher Ana­hera, and how she deals with the loss of him.

Pro­duc­tion com­pany Brown Sugar Ap­ple Grunt hired a col­lec­tive of nine wahine (women) Ma¯ori film-mak­ers to cre­ate the film in 2016.

‘‘There was a set of non­nego­tiables,’’ Kaa says.

The story had to be around child abuse, each se­quence had to cen­tre around the same story, each film had to be a con­tin­u­ous shot, it had to be writ­ten and di­rected by a Ma¯ori woman and fea­ture a Ma¯ori lead ac­tress, Kaa says.

The se­quences also had to be shot in one day and from 10am to 10.10am. The re­sult was the 88-minute film, which has been se­lected to play at sev­eral in­ter­na­tional film fes­ti­vals.

‘‘ was in re­sponse to the alarm­ing child abuse rates in New Zealand and want­ing to be a cham­pion for change for tamariki [chil­dren],’’ Kaa says.

The New Zealand Film Com­mis­sion had also con­ducted re­search which showed a lack of con­tent by Ma¯ori women (the last fea­ture film by Ma¯ori women was made in 1988) so was an op­por­tu­nity to con­nect Ma¯ori women into the con­ver­sa­tion, Kaa says.

‘‘We hope that we open di­a­logue, we hope that the di­a­logue in­sti­gates change, that the change moves to­wards heal­ing. There’s a theme through­out the film that small acts of kind­ness and reach­ing out can have a great ef­fect on pro­tect­ing more of our chil­dren.’’

Fel­low mak­ers of Re­nae Maihi, Awanui Simich-Pene and Josephine Ste­wart-Te Whiu are from the Hokianga.

pre­miered at the New Zealand In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in Au­gust and has since played at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

will screen at the Hokianga Film Fes­ti­val on Oc­to­ber 20, and the Cathay Cinema in Kerik­eri from Novem­ber 23.

Matauri Bay film-maker Casey Kaa on the set of Waru.

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