‘Do you know what the funny thing is? Everyone knows the song, but nobody knows the words.’ · ‘That’s right man... mmmhh Poi E.’
In 1984 a Maori popsong topped the charts in New Zealand. It was nothing short of a miracle that music with Maori language lyrics could achieve such success. It was the heyday of Tina Turner and Michael Jackson – and of course most songs were sung in English. But then along came Dalvanius Prime, an imposing Maori with a strong but silky smooth voice, and the singers of the Patea Maori Club. Prime had already established himself as a ‘black’ soul singer, then he began to mix traditional melodies with modern Beats. Although the media would have loved to ignore it, Poi E became a ‘hymn of a new generation’, ultimately encouraged many Maori to rediscover their roots and experienced a new hype in Taika Waititis feature Boy (Generation 2010).
New Zealand 2016
Documentary form94 min · Colour
Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, this director of Maori heritage was discovered as an actor at the age of 17 and subsequently worked for two years with a Maori theatre troupe which toured throughout New Zealand. Having studied history and Maori studies at the University of Auckland, he has since directed a diverse range of documentaries and award-winning short films. His feature debut Mt Zion won several prizes at the New Zealand Film Awards and was a big commercial success in both New Zealand and Australia.Filmography (selection)
2006 The Speaker; short film 2007 Taua; short film 2013 Mt. Zion 2016 Poi E: The Story of Our Song
Patea Film CollectiveAuckland, New Zealand