The anxiety and awe of creating and unveiling a carved meeting house at Piritahi Marae will soon be revealed in a documentary.

Waiheke filmmaker Baraka from ember::vision has made her first feature film, Kia Piritahi, about the carving and weaving process which culminated in the opening ceremony for the meeting house in June last year.

The film will be screened at a single public viewing at Waiheke Cinema on Friday 30 June at 8pm.

Wharenui architect and carving project manager Sally Smith says the film captures a journey that started in 2001, when work to adorn the meeting house began.

Although the wharenui, Kia Piritahi, was built in 1992, about 50 carvings as large as seven metres long were created over 15 years before being installed last winter.
“Magnificent” woven tukutuku panels and artworks have also gone into the whare whakairo.

Sally says the film offers a fascinating insight into the project, showing carvers and weavers at work and the excitement of installing the works.

The documentary also records the dawn ceremony and hangi for hundreds of visitors at the opening day.

“We had moments of humour, anxiety, relief and incredible moments of awe as we slowly installed each piece like a giant jigsaw puzzle,” Sally says.

The creative project was difficult but “incredibly satisfying” to curate, because more than 60 works by different artists had to be pulled together within the vision laid down by Tomi Ropata and Lorna Rikihana.

Matariki is an appropriate time to screen the film, which is a tribute to the kuia and kaumatua who have passed away since the project began.

“We felt it was really important to acknowledge those who started this journey and who were sadly not around to see it completed – without them this marae would not be standing here in the form that it is today.”

The film was funded by the marae, with support from Waiheke Community Cinema Trust.
Limited tickets to the screening are available from Toi Gallery in Oneroa and can be reserved by emailing • Rose Davis

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