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Amazing taonga and engaging films to see

DSC2860 17 August 2019

This week the talented MTG Hawke’s Bay team have been busy putting together a new exhibition – Turuturu: Fingers, Feathers and Fibre, focusing on all things woven from the taonga Māori collection. There’s a broad range of amazing taonga to view, showing the rich talent and breadth of creative styles within the collection. We’re very grateful for the support and knowledge provided by guest curator Nigel How who helped us pull this exhibition together. The exhibition is open to the public today.

It’s clear we’re heading into serious festival season with the launch of the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival on Thursday night and as well the Art Deco Trust putting together their festival programme for February 2020. However at the moment the New Zealand International Film Festival is foremost in my mind as I’m still struggling to figure out how to fit in all the films I want to see.

My young adult sons are very keen on Apocalypse Now: Final Cut in which Cappola finally achieves his original vision for the film. Dystopian films such as Vivarium and High Life also appeal to them, so may be representative of a demographic match?However as a family we’re all excited about Hail Satan? –which looks set to challenge preconceptions about religion and politics in America. On a completely different tangent we all feel the appeal of The Biggest Little Farm which has some stunning cinematography, and while there are clearly a series of challenges there’s definitely an overall feel good factor. 

A number of biographical films on strong females are a theme of the festival. Ask Dr Ruth with whirlwind colourful character Ruth Westheimer, determined to revolutionise how society viewed and talked about sex will be a fascinating watch. Learning more about New Zealand champion of the underdog, Helen Kelly – Together, has a great deal of relevance. And singing legend Aretha Franklin, as a young 29 year old exploring her gospel background while recording an album in a Baptist Church, is shared in Amazing Grace. For a more active biographical film Maiden documents the first all-female team determined to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race, a traditionally male domain at the time. 

Strong female leads continue in the fiction space with films such as The Nightingale, described as a “bleak, bloody revenge Western”, looking set to challenge all sorts of views on women and Australian colonial history. Who You Think I Am picks up on a current social trend of ‘catfishing’, where people present themselves online as someone other than they really are. I’ll be interested to watch how the script navigates this morally dubious space. On a much lighter note Brittany Runs a Marathon is the main comedy of the festival, following Brittany as she challenges her lifestyle choices and decides to tackle the New York marathon.

I’m loving the fact that this year my sons are really starting to engage with the film festival and looking beyond mainstream blockbusters. Helping them develop a love of real art films gives me great pleasure, knowing they will have this deeper engagement with film to take with them throughout their lives. Whatever your preference or personal taste there’s sure to be something to suit so please come in and get a programme at the museum.


  • New Zealand International Film Festival begins 29 August at MTG Century Theatre. Tickets available now through Ticketek or at MTG
  • Turuturu: Fingers, Feathers & Fibre exhibition opens today, Saturday 17 August. Free entry
  • Soundbites: Project Prima Volta students perform at MTG Century Theatre. Monday 19 August 12:15-12:45pm. Free event – koha appreciated
  • MTG Movie Club: At Eternity’s Gate. A 2018 biological drama film about the final years of Vincent van Gogh’s life. MTG Century Theatre, Wednesday 21 August, 2pm. Tickets available through Ticketek

Image: Kete huruhuru [30528], muka base with feathers woven in.

18 August 2019

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