Director/producer Paora Joseph has been nervous ahead of a film premiere before, but nothing as close to what he felt in Hawera.
A big reason was that most of the subjects of his documentary Te Hokinga Mai a Tatarakihi - The Children of Parihaka were going by bus to Hawera Cinema 2 last night to see their film.
The special gala screening follows on from the documentary touring New Zealand on both the NZ International Film Festival circuit and by demand from cultural and historical interest groups.
"It is important it comes back to South Taranaki because of the kaupapa," Mr Joseph said before the Hawera premiere to a packed audience of Ngati Ruanui iwi members, Parihaka people and paying members of the public
"It's more scary showing it in front of the people that it's about."
The documentary is based on a 2009 trip by the young descendants of Parihaka people, as they follow the steps of the men taken from their families and incarcerated in the South Island in the 1880s.
Mr Joseph said he had found the grass roots story had attracted a wider audience than just Maori - as evidenced by the demand for the film to be shown again in places like Wellington and Christchurch by groups who may not have caught it at festival time.
"There's an injustice, as well as the invasion of Parihaka. People feel it's a compassionate film. It's not exclusive, the way the story has been told."
The visitors from Parihaka - children, crew and other cast members - were formally welcomed into the cinema by Ngati Ruanui iwi members before taking their seats.
South Taranaki District Council helped organise the gala screening.
The film will also be shown in New Plymouth during the NZ International Film Festival on October 27, 28 and 31.
It will then be brought back to Hawera for a one-week season, starting on November 1.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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