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Ever the Land

This screening took place on
Monday, July 4, 2016 at 7:00pm
Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre

Free screening at Adäka Cultural Festival

It’s a scenario familiar to Canadians: oppressed indigenous people fighting to rebuild and assert their rights. On this occasion, the setting is New Zealand’s Te Urewera forest region. The people in this documentary are the Tūhoe Maori. For the past 150 years, the relationship between the Tūhoe Maori tribe and the New Zealand government has been defined by longstanding grievances over severe colonization experiences such as illegal land confiscations and the devastating consequences of scorched earth policies.

This beautifully filmed documentary uses formal observation to capture a period of change and tremendous foresight: Tūhoe are negotiating an apology and settlement from the Crown, and constructing an architectural gem of a community centre using radically sustainable methods. The planning and construction of the cultural centre building - the first “living building” in New Zealand - is the binding character and watching its creation immerses us in a culture that is tightly woven into its land and an architecture that is defined by its integrity to it.


“Ever the Land has been made with finesse, sensitivity and clear eyes. Breathtaking mountain vistas, beautiful tribal ceremonies and the modern struggle of politics: all this and more are explored, making for an education as well as a feast for the eyes. It’s heartening to see the determination of the Tuhoe people and, as is the case in so many of the best documentaries, we get to inhabit a special world. Emerging from this movie, we’re a little better for having known a new place, met a new people and seen one of those all-too-rare victories for justice. There’s a lot of folk wisdom to be gleaned, including the advice to “look back to the past and close it; look forward to the future and open it.” This is a film about past and future, tradition and modernity. Most of all, though, it’s about the grandest hopes—and what it takes to fulfill them.”  - Vancouver International Film Festival

“Architect Ivan Mercep famously arrived to pitch for Te Wharehou o Tūhoe equipped with a blank sheet of paper, and was given the job. Perhaps the same tabula rasa principle applied when Tūhoe and Mercep granted relative outsiders… extensive access to hui, meetings and the building site over two years to make a documentary about the planning and construction of the building.”—New Zealand Int’l Film Festival

FREE ADMISSION

  • Directed by Sarah Grohnert
  • 2015, New Zealand
  • 93 minutes
  • Film Subtitled
Ever the Land

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