Te Rua

Te Rua - 1991

Pacific Films - 98 min.

DVD UPC/EAN # 9418212011218

Cast: Wi Kuki Kaa, Nissie Herewini, Tilly Reedy, Peter Kaa, Gunter Meisner, Maria Fitzi, Donna Akersten, Stuart Devenie.
Screenplay: Barry Barclay; Photography: Rory O'Shea, Warrick Attewell; Editors: Simon Reece, Dell King; Music: Dalvanius; Production Designer: Ron Highfield; Producer: John O'Shea; Director: Barry Barclay.

Some carvings of ancestors, taken from a Maori settlement in 1880, show up in a Berlin museum. Peter (Peter Kaa), a performing poet, wants to take the carvings back to his people. With the help of Rewi (Wi Kuki Kaa), an international lawyer, he is assisted in his fight. Te Rua is a passionate film about a quest for spiritual guardianship. The narrative is a bit overloaded with charactors and events, but not enough clear detail, so that the point of many scenes is muddled or lost, but it does contain emotional power. Filmed in Berlin, Wellington, Cape Palliser and the Wairarapa coast. Worth a viewing.

Censor rating: PG - Review rating: B-

Te Rua
Official MP4 Clip


Although it was available on pal vhs, it has been OOP for many years. As of 25 August, 2010, it is available on R0 PAL DVD, from NZ sources, for $10-15nz. It is not presented in its original 1.33:1 format, but an unusual 1.56:1 with the original 2.0 stereo English soundtrack. Except for some Maori dialogue, there no subtitles. There are no extras.

Aro Video of Wellington has rental copies for any NZ address

Alice in Videoland of Christchurch has rental copies available for New Zealand addresses


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Costa Botes Review

Peter Calder Review

Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Review

Wellington Film Society Review

Reviews at Letterboxd.com

New Internationalist Review

"This picture actually marks quite a stylistic breakthrough for New Zealand film in that Barclay has managed to appropriate the technical apparatus of cinema into the Maori oral storytelling tradition" - (Costa Botes, "Barclay's Te Rua tougher on outside", The Dominion, November 25, 1991)

"What is essentially an action pic emerges surprisingly static and passive. Self- conscious rhetoric on white colonialism and patronage and Third World values too often chokes the flow. Camera work is unimaginative. The performances give little indication of flesh- and- blood characters" - (Mike Nicolaidi, Variety, August 19, 1991)


North & South Review by Brian McDonnell - October 1991 - For details or copies contact Kakapo Books


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