Tonight Tuhoe rolled into town to attend the gala opening of Ever The Land at the 2015 NZ International Film Festival at the Sky City Cinema in Auckland. After some introductory speeches and a moving waiata the lights went down and the movie began.
Ostensibly a film about the construction of the first ever "Living Building" in NZ, conceived as a testament to the values of the Tuhoe people and their vision forself-governance, it was this and a whole more.
The film begins with a narration that declares that the war between the fiercely independent Tuhoe and the crown to be a stalemate and though there be some who would wish the fight to continue, there are others who sense it is time to close the door on the past and open a new door to the future.
The film ends with a moving apology from the crown for all the wrongs the Tuhoe people have been subjected to since colonisation.
In between is a subtly drawn portrait of a people moving forward into the future, embracing modernity and the spirit of forgiveness. A beautifully constructed piece of observational cinema, it was a profound experience that deeply affected both my heart and mind.
A testament to all the people of this special little nation, I left the cinema a little bit wiser and with a sense that I had been witness to something very special.