Alesha Ahdar’s “He Takatāpui Ahau” and Micah Winiata’s “Taiao” have been included in the latest series of Someday Stories.
By Bronson Eruera Perich
Although both films are totally unrelated, they speak to the filmmaker’s personal journeys of reconnecting back with their marae.
He Takatāpui Ahau tells the story of Blayke, a non-binary Māori who returns to their marae not knowing if they’ll be accepted. Taiao is non-verbal, with no dialogue at all. But it’s also the result of Winiata going back to his marae, and reconnecting with his hapū.
“I would say Blayke’s journey is half biopic, but also like half my fears, and my hopes for the community,” Alesha Ahdar said.
“This (Taiao) is more of an art installation, a music video and a match documentary in one,” Micah Winiata said.
‘Takatāpui whānau wait until older generations die basically before they go home’
Ahdar says reconnecting with marae and hapū can be a daunting experience for takatāpui (LGBTQ). Her character Blayke almost pulls out of returning to the marae. Once they arrive, the reaction is mixed.
“I do know that conversion therapy has been practiced on some marae,” Ahdar said.
“From like, anecdotes that have been told to me personally… I won’t say which ones.”
Ahdar admits that as she has reconnected with her own marae and hapū, that her approach has been “strategic”. That meaning, she doesn’t reveal all of her she is, until she can trust her safety with individual whānau and hapū members.
“Takatāpui whānau are waiting until older generations die basically before they go home,” she said.
“Because they’re not sure if they’ll be accepted.”
The “Sāmaori” creative hopes when people watch her film, it will inspire marae and hapū communities to be more considerate towards their LGBTQ relatives.
“If they want the opportunity to get involved with it…”
Micah Winiata took his film on a totally different arc, but it’s still a result of his reconnecting back to his hapū.
After returning from Chicago where he had been expanding on his filmmaking skills, the idea for Taiao emerged.
“I really wanted to connect back to nature and my whakapapa as well,” Micah Winiata said.
Upon arrival back in Bethlehem, Winiata featured some of his hapū, Ngāi Tamarāwaho in Taiao. They forming the kapa haka group in the film, and they contributed to the soundtrack.
“It was my first-time reconnecting with my marae,” Winiata said.
“I wanted to open that opportunity up to members of our hapū to have that experience.”
Winiata says that he wants to stay in the non-verbal genre for now, using it to tell nature stories across the motu.
And Taiao won’t be the last film featuring his Ngāi Tamarāwaho relatives.