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// Films // Te Rua

Te Rua

Barry Barclay / New Zealand / 1991 / 105 ' / English


Barry Barclay
John O'Shea

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Three young Maori activists move into Berlin to retrieve from a museum ancestral carvings which were stolen a century earlier. Heroes or terrorists?


A hundred years after the theft from New Zealand of three irreplaceable tribal carvings, two members of the Maori tribe decide it's time for ancient grievances to be put right.

Both men are in Germany, where the carvings are stored in a great Berlin museum. Rewi Marangai (a successful lawyer) has been working on a patent case. Peter Huaka (a perfromance poet) is on a European tour. They first meet when Peter is detained in the museum, where he has been causing turmoil about the stolen carvings.

They meet again in New Zealand, where Peter is recruiting helpers for his campaign to bring the carvings back home. Rewi at first refuses to participate, but changes his mind when as old woman of the tribe (Nanny Matai) orders him to lead the group to Germany.

In Berlin, Peter's plans go awry; when his group breaks into the museum, they are confronted by the museum authorities. Rewi then persuades the others to let him put his own, more daring plan into action. Tensions build, and international media interest broadens when a sniper's bullet hits Peter.

At home, the people of the tribe gather to await news, and Nanny Matai begins a vigil for her tribe's carvings.

Her fate and the return of the carvings are in the balance...


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