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Tupaia doco in film festival

The making of the documentary Tupaia's Endeavour was a journey of discovery — and if a history-making moment at Uawa-Tolaga Bay wasn't mind-blowing enough, wait till you see the discovery that makes sense of the Raiatean arioi and navigator's map of Pacific islands.

That opportunity has come around with Whanau Marama — the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) which can be accessed online.

“Hang on,” says a clearly affected Michael Tuffery, right after making the discovery some of us got to see in a private screening last year at Reynold's Hall. “I'm having a moment.”

While Tupaia joined British explorer James Cook's expedition from Tahiti to New Zealand, the Raiatean has been largely overlooked by European historians.

Tupaia's Endeavour is a voyage of discovery as artist Tuffery, historian Paul Tapsell and actor Kirk Torrance meet with Gisborne and Uawa-Tolaga Bay identities.

“In 2016, we shared a very long version of the film with the Te Ha Trust at a big screening in Gisborne,” says Rolls.

“There were city councillors, the Mayor, ordinary Pakeha New Zealanders, Maori from around the region, everybody. Many of them had never even considered that there might be a different way to look at the arrival of Captain Cook in 1769. As Dame Anne Salmond says: it's the view from the shore, rather than the view from the ship.”

During a premiere of a special cut of the documentary in Gisborne in 2016, the audience saw a drawing by Tupaia high on a cave wall at Opoutama-Cook's Cove.

Since that screening, director Lala Rolls, crew and actors have toured the country and gathered more stories about Tupaia and included them in the film. The film has evolved since its first public screening in Gisborne four years ago.

“All the delays and the sharing of versions with local communities along the way has drawn a wealth of knowledge and information to us,” Rolls told The Big Idea. “This has fed into and brought a special kind of magic to the final cut.”

Whanau Marama — New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) runs from July 24– August 3.

Tupaia's Endeavour will be streamed from July 29 – August 4. To book, visit https://www.nziff.co.nz/2020/at-home-online/tupaias-endeavour/ and create an account. Click on the “get the programme” button for the complete schedule.

WELCOME TO TURANGANUI-A-KIWA: Actor Kirk Torrance plays Raiatean arioi and navigator Tupaia, who joined Lieutenant James Cook's expedition from Tahiti to New Zealand, in an updated cut of Lala Rolls' documentary, Tupaia's Endeavour. The doco screens online this month as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival. Picture supplied