For My Father’s Kingdom

What does it cost to preserve one’s culture and faith in the diaspora? The children of Saia Mafile’o can provide an actual figure because their father surrenders all his income to the Wesleyan church of Tonga. ‘Misinale’ is the name of the fundraising campaign that calls on people in and from Tonga to raise money for the community. Although Saia has been living in New Zealand for many years, he is determined to adhere to this tradition. This is hard for his adult children to understand, because his donations mean that they are short of money for other things. A trip with their father to his homeland helps them better understand the Tongan way of life and accept that attitudes here are not always compatible with Western notions of efficiency. In long, dialogue-rich shots, this documentary explores how the church, Tongan culture and traditions can hold a family together but also be a burden. The film does not take sides, rather it gives its protagonists all the space they need to air smouldering conflicts and negotiate the price that intercultural dialogue demands. An intimate look at the discussions taking place within one family that also captures the sensuality of Tongan food culture and festivity.
by Vea Mafile'o, Jeremiah Tauamiti New Zealand 2019 English, Tongan 97’ Colour Documentary form


Directors Vea Mafile'o, Jeremiah Tauamiti
Cinematography Jeremiah Tauamiti
Montage Margot Francis
Music David Long, Briar Pratstiti
Production Manager Emma Conroy
Producers Sandra Kailahi, Vea Mafile'o
Executive Producers Vincent Burke, Brian Holland

Produced by

Kingston Productions

Malosi Pictures

Vea Mafile'o

After taking a degree in fine art, she began working in television art departments before becoming an art director and camera operator on short and feature films. Now a television director, she continues to design and dress sets for various corporate events. In 2015, she was invited to exhibit her work as an artist at the Venice Biennale. As part of her ‘Digital Fananga’ project she has produced three short films in Tonga, one of which won the Break Through Award at the Sydney Pasifika Film Festival in 2015.


2015 'Aho'eitu; short film 2018 Toa`ipuapuagā Strength in Suffering; short film 2019 For My Father's Kingdom

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

Jeremiah Tauamiti

This freelance film and television director lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand. He began his career as a television camera operator and has produced, directed and filmed for broadcasters including TVNZ, TV3 and Maori TV as well as producing several videos for the New Zealand government. As a writer and director he made his feature film debut For My Father’s Kingdom.


2017 Maria; short film 2018 Liliu; short film 2019 For My Father's Kingdom

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019