28 Oct 2019

NZ Wars: Stories of Waitara (Documentary)

From NZ Wars: Stories of Waitara, 5:00 pm on 28 October 2019

Series Classification: PG (Parental Guidance Recommended for Younger Viewers)

NZ Wars: Stories of Waitara combines oral histories, state of the art animations and powerful dramatic re-enactments to bring to life the narratives of Te Ātiawa in their epic battle against the military might of the British Empire.

British Soldiers survey the fertile Taranaki lands.

British Soldiers survey the fertile Taranaki lands. Photo: RNZ / Great Southern Television

The Taranaki pā site of Pukerangiora holds a significant place in New Zealand’s military history as a lasting symbol of Māori resistance and resilience.

Pukerangiora is now the backdrop for the latest instalment of RNZ’s award-winning docu-series on the bloody birth of modern New Zealand.  NZ Wars: Stories of Waitara.

Mihingarangi Forbes in NZ Wars: Stories of Waitara

Mihingarangi Forbes in NZ Wars: Stories of Waitara Photo: RNZ / Great Southern Television

Created and presented by award-winning journalist Mihingarangi Forbes NZ Wars: Stories of Waitara documents the epic battle for control over the fertile lands of Taranaki.

Shared through the eyes of Te Ātiawa descendants including Dr Ruakere Hond with insights from acclaimed historian Dr Vincent O’Malley this digital documentary project focuses on the beginning of the Taranaki wars which started in Waitara and raged across the region for over two decades.

Forbes says "I'm so very grateful to the storytellers of Te Ātiawa, the families of Waitara and the iwi leadership for allowing us to share this important story.  It's unfair to leave painful pasts on the shoulders of just a few.  This history belongs to us all."

"Tangata tōmua, whenua tōmuri / People would give their lives before they gave their lands to sale."

"Tangata tōmua, whenua tōmuri / People would give their lives before they gave their lands to sale." Photo: RNZ / Great Southern Television

A British Soldier in the midst of an attack.

A British Soldier in the midst of an attack. Photo: RNZ / Great Southern Television

Producer/Director Mahanga Pihama says ‘It’s an absolute honour to work with the iwi and put pictures to amazing stories that will forever remain a part of New Zealand history’.

The digital project also features extended interviews with tribal historians Rāwiri Doorbar and Hēmi Sundgren as well as poi performance, standalone animations and dramatic re-enactments.

An unexpected foe.

An unexpected foe. Photo: RNZ / Great Southern Television

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NZ Wars: Stories of Waitara was launched on October 28th, 2019 at Ōwae Marae in Taranaki in conjunction with Te Pūtake o Te Riri commemorations.



Related Programmes
In 2017 Great Southern Television produced NZ Wars: The Stories of Ruapekapeka to critical acclaim receiving Best Documentary, Best Māori Programme and finalist for Best Presenter - Entertainment at the 2018 Huawei Mate20 New Zealand Television Awards.

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Photo: RNZ / Great Southern Television

RNZ/NZ On Air Innovation Fund logos

Photo: RNZ/NZ On Air