Through Our Lens is a Māoriland Charitable Trust kaupapa. This January the Māoriland rangatahi initiative Through Our Lens traveled to Taiwan and Finland with young filmmakers from across Aotearoa. 

Māoriland rangatahi co-ordinator Aree Kapa and Maddy de Young gives a first hand account of this groundbreaking adventure.

In a city full of lights, vehicles and staunch cyclists who would ring their bell at you if you were standing in the bike lane, we felt safe and somewhat at home in Taipei.  Our first few days were spent exploring and trying foods we thought we’d never try. Kaea Hakaraia-Hosking (Otaki), Rakaea Te Rangi Trotman (Rotorua), Ngahiwi Pickering (Hokianga) and Aydriannah Tuiali’i (Hokianga) formed our roopu of Māori filmmakers who were to facilitate workshops in Kasavakan and Dulan. They were supported by myself and Libby Hakaraia and Matilda Poasa. 

Kasavakan is in the south of Taiwan in the Taitung region and the tribal homeland of the Pinuyumayan tribe. The manaakitanga was extensive with homemade traditional kai brought to the house we were staying in for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were visited by many from the community in the four days we stayed there. The elders felt like our own kuia and kaumatua with their constant banter and eagerness to share their stories.  We made a film with these elders based on one of their tūpuna stories. We also collaborated to write a song in both Kasavakan and Māori and to shoot a film to go with this song.

Our second workshop was held in Dulan, a short 15 minute drive down the coast to the land of the Amis tribe. It was mind-blowing that we’d only driven down the road and yet the people there spoke a completely different language. In Dulan we wove our own bottle holders, made tapa cloth and beaded bracelets with some of the locals from the community. 

There were two films made in Dulan; one about the traditional Amis attire and the other about their harvesting tradition called Micekiw.  Both films are rich with culture and native language.  

We spent our final day back where our trip began, roaming the Taipei City roads, at the underground market and filling up on sushi train before our early morning flights the next day.

Within the Māori and Moana communities it is known that there are strong ancestral connections between Taiwan and Aotearoa. This was echoed in the languages and sense of familiarity we found in the communities we visited. In Dulan words like pōtae (hat) was putay and rima (five) was lima. But more surprising – to us at least – was their knowledge of the wider Indigenous world. When we said that our next trip was to carry on to Sápmi, they knew exactly who we were talking about. 

In Taipei, Libby and Aree said goodbye to Matilda, Kaea, Ngahiwi, Aydriannah and Rakaea. Back in Aotearoa, Maddy Hakaraia de Young – Māoriland’s Kaiwhakahau Hōtaka was preparing the next roopu, consisting of Ōtaki’s Oriwa Hakaraia, Kate Rennie Penese (Hokianga), Luke Moss (Te Kuīti) and Ngato Zharnaye Livingstone (Whangarei). 

You can read about their experiences in our next post.

Rangatahi experiences…

Kāre i tino whānui nga kitenga aku i mua i taku haere ki tēneki o nga haerenga, heoi i whakatutuki i ta matau i haere ai koia te mea nui ki te korerohia te kaupapa hai pupuritanga ki taku kete o te purangiaho.Marama ana ahau kua kore te matatatorutanga o te mōhio i piri ki au i runga i te haere nei. Ma te haerehanga ki te tutaki atu ki wēneki tangata taketake kanohi ki te kanohi , ihu ki te ihu , tangata taketake ki te tangata taketake. Kare i tua atu i tēra. Nōku te maringa tino nui kia whai whakaaro ki te wahanga ki au ki te haere nei , taumata tera o te aroha.He hua i puta, he rawa i mau i au nga mihi ki te hunga.

Rakaea Te Rangi Trotman

Kāre i tino whānui nga kitenga aku i mua i taku haere ki tēneki o nga haerenga, heoi i whakatutuki i ta matau i haere ai koia te mea nui ki te korerohia te kaupapa hai pupuritanga ki taku kete o te purangiaho.Marama ana ahau kua kore te matatatorutanga o te mōhio i piri ki au i runga i te haere nei. Ma te haerehanga ki te tutaki atu ki wēneki tangata taketake kanohi ki te kanohi , ihu ki te ihu , tangata taketake ki te tangata taketake. Kare i tua atu i tēra. Nōku te maringa tino nui kia whai whakaaro ki te wahanga ki au ki te haere nei , taumata tera o te aroha.He hua i puta, he rawa i mau i au nga mihi ki te hunga.
My time in Taiwan was amazing. The scenery, new foods, and especially the people were awesome. While we were in community, I felt so welcomed. I felt at home. I was given many learning opportunities such as learning about their many different tribes, traditional stories, cultural practices and their general way of life.Whilst I was taking on this information, I couldn’t help but realise like ‘wow, our cultures, our stories, etc, are so alike, yet so different?!’
There were a few challenges we faced like the language barriers mostly and we couldn’t have done it without the help of our amazing new friends who hosted us throughout our stay. And not to mention my lil fam who I got to work alongside through this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Kaea Hakaraia Hosking

My time in Taiwan was amazing. The scenery, new foods, and especially the people were awesome. While we were in community, I felt so welcomed. I felt at home. I was given many learning opportunities such as learning about their many different tribes, traditional stories, cultural practices and their general way of life.Whilst I was taking on this information, I couldn’t help but realise like ‘wow, our cultures, our stories, etc, are so alike, yet so different?!’ There were a few challenges we faced like the language barriers mostly and we couldn’t have done it without the help of our amazing new friends who hosted us throughout our stay. And not to mention my lil fam who I got to work alongside through this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Firstly I would like to say a big thank you to all the people from Maoriland for giving me the great experience of travelling overseas and connecting with other indigenous people through my passion of filmmaking. I’m from the Hokianga and that was one thing I would have never imagined I would ever get the chance to do in my whole life. Before going to Taiwan I didn't have a strong understanding of what it means to be Indigenous, but after returning home I have learned that aroha, manakitanga, and whanaungatanga are some of the main reasons that make us as Indigenous people important, and why we can connect with each other so easily because we have similar values.
Even though there were a few challenges along the way we strived through to reach the goals that we had set. One of the main challenges that stood out to me the most was the language barrier. It took more time than expected for both sides thoughts to reach each other, but in the end, we pushed through and overcame the challenge. Also, even though it was only for a short time, that trip has made me more interested to learn more about my own culture and to share the beauty of it out to other Indigenous cultures.No reira
Ko matou nga tangata taketake
Ka tu kaha
Ka tu maia
Ka tu kotahi 

Ngahiwi Pickering

Firstly I would like to say a big thank you to all the people from Maoriland for giving me the great experience of travelling overseas and connecting with other indigenous people through my passion of filmmaking. I’m from the Hokianga and that was one thing I would have never imagined I would ever get the chance to do in my whole life. Before going to Taiwan I didn’t have a strong understanding of what it means to be Indigenous, but after returning home I have learned that aroha, manakitanga, and whanaungatanga are some of the main reasons that make us as Indigenous people important, and why we can connect with each other so easily because we have similar values. Even though there were a few challenges along the way we strived through to reach the goals that we had set. One of the main challenges that stood out to me the most was the language barrier. It took more time than expected for both sides thoughts to reach each other, but in the end, we pushed through and overcame the challenge. Also, even though it was only for a short time, that trip has made me more interested to learn more about my own culture and to share the beauty of it out to other Indigenous cultures.No reira Ko matou nga tangata taketake Ka tu kaha Ka tu maia Ka tu kotahi
Inavayan/Nga’aiho!
The most challenging yet most rewarding aspect of the TOL workshops was making sure that the traditional stories of each community were told correctly and truthfully through their lens and from their encounters. This meant treating each story with care and respect throughout the entire filmmaking process - from sharing story ideas, to planning, filming, editing and executing. It was vital we acknowledged that we were guests on their whenua, and that we as facilitators were there to use our knowledge and skills in filmmaking to help them share their stories with te ao taketake. Although there was a distinct language barrier, the help of our amazing translator friends made communication a smoother and easier process during our time in Taiwan.

Aydriannah Tuiali'i

Inavayan/Nga’aiho! The most challenging yet most rewarding aspect of the TOL workshops was making sure that the traditional stories of each community were told correctly and truthfully through their lens and from their encounters. This meant treating each story with care and respect throughout the entire filmmaking process – from sharing story ideas, to planning, filming, editing and executing. It was vital we acknowledged that we were guests on their whenua, and that we as facilitators were there to use our knowledge and skills in filmmaking to help them share their stories with te ao taketake. Although there was a distinct language barrier, the help of our amazing translator friends made communication a smoother and easier process during our time in Taiwan.

Watch the films made in Taiwan…

Taiwan Upload Times

Through Our Lens is premiering online!

Ngā Pakiaka will take you behind the scenes of each workshop before premiering the films made in each location. This week we’re in Taiwan where we were hosted by the peoples of Kasavakan and Dulan. 

Join us live on Instagram, Youtube and Facebook at 1 pm NZT for the next five days to premiere the films made in Taiwan!

Through Our Lens Taiwan was made possible with the support of  HTK Group Ltd, Te Puni Kōkiri, NZ Film Commission and Screenrights. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *