A Labour of Love

Nov 23, 2018

Pictured: Rangi Hetet standing in Te Māori at Waiwhetu with two of the waka he and the Te Whānau Paneke carvers made for the Sesquecentennial at Pito-one in 1990

The film: Mo Te Iwi has been an almost 4 year journey so far. It's been a labour of love - a way to honour not only my father and his mahi as a carver but all those men who carved wharenui around the country who are often forgotten once the job is done, years after the whare have been well used and long admired.

Our Dad's story is just one of many but my hope is that by telling his story, it will help in some way toward telling the whole story of these amazing men who packed up their lives and travelled to carve wharenui, sometimes leaving their families for long periods of time, to live on site, while they did the work.

Mine and my siblings lives have all been shaped by the activities of carving and weaving - in so many big and little ways. If you are a weaver or a carver you may be finding that in your families - your children and mokopuna are now touched by or immersed in your mahi raranga, taaniko or whatu, putting up with burnt dinners and showers only (oh, because there's flax in the bath!), having to navigate around your piupiu hanging on the line or your taaniko patterns on the dining room table. Hubbies, partners and friends have supported you to clear out the shed, make that stand thingy you just know will make your life better, help you gather, plant (and maybe even haapine harakeke). Weaving becomes all consuming in lovely, if sometimes slightly inconvenient, ways.

Carving has been the same for us as weaving. From the sound of tap, tap, tapping and the smell of oil wafting through the house to the waka launches and dawn ceremonies. Our whānau has been shaped by all that whakairo involves, in the most profound and enduring ways.

So this story, the film: Mo Te Iwi is something that I feel we must achieve to honour our Dad and all those men who have and do carve. I know Dad has felt whakamaa about the Kickstarter and the fundraising. He's a humble kind of person and reserved. I've pushed him a bit outside of his comfort zone (the filming alone did that!). However, to make this film, any feature-length film, is an expensive exercise and well, sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get something worthwhile done. We hope you or your whanau were able to benefit too from the rewards via our fundraiser and/or the kickstarter.

Once again, we offer our sincere gratitude to all who have and are helping with this kaupapa - thank you for your labours of love.

Ngā mihi nui,
Lillian (on behalf of the whānau and Film Crew)

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