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Hone Tuwhare - The Return Home

14 February 2005

The Academy Cinemas are delighted to be hosting a series of films as part of Auckland’s Coexistence Festival. The second of these is Michelle McGregor’s insightful Kiwi documentary HONE TUWHARE: THE RUTURN HOME - showing this Saturday and Sunday at 4pm.

In honour of the first Auckland screening of the film, ticket holders will also be treated to live entertainment before the screening. This will include poetry read by friends of Tuwhare, and music by guitarist Nopera Pikari and the 'divinely voiced' Mahina Kaui, prior to both screenings.
On Saturday Tuwhare's biographer Janet Hunt will read from her book and discuss her experiences working with Tuwhare, while on Sunday musician Graham Brazier who performed on the album 'Tuwhare' will play.

Impressionistic and observant “Hone Tuwhare – the Return Home” captures the magic of this rare tour and offers an insight into the creative personality of one of New Zealand’s greatest artists. A political activist and one of the first Maori to write poetry in English, Hone Tuwhare has influenced generations of artists and writers in New Zealand.

Hone Tuwhare – The Return Home
Length: 60 minutes
Rating: Exempt
Screens: Academy Cinema – 4pm Sat 18th Feb & 4pm Sun 19th Feb
Director: Michelle McGregor

Poet and national treasure Hone Tuwhare was born near Kaikohe. Seventy-five years after he left Northland, poet and unabashed fan Glen Colquhoun decided it was time he came back. He wrote a poem, published in the Listener, inviting the old man back. It worked. Tuwhare, with Colquhoun, and musicians Mahina Kaui, Lavinia Kingi and Nopera Pikari, toured through Northland in March 2002. The Listener’s Dennis Welch and Jane Ussher and filmmaker Michelle McGregor tagged along for the record.

He read his poetry at public gatherings convened in his honour, visited schools, and met with old friends and relatives. We see his public appearances and some of the bits in between, as he clowns in his bed, croons a Sinatra song or two, gives fresh vent to the anger that’s contained in his most famous poem, relishes a seafood dinner, or mesmerises school children with bawdiness and some heartfelt advice.

McGregor leaves us in little doubt that everyone he met felt happier and richer for the encounter. Her charming film is virtually guaranteed to continue the effect.

In June 2002, Hone won the ‘Montana Book Award for Poetry’ for his collection ‘Piggy Back Moon’. Hone is the self-proclaimed Kaumatua (Grandfather) of poetry in New Zealand, and in June 2003 was one of the ten New Zealanders to receive an “Icon Award’ from the National Arts Foundation.

Hone Tuwhare has published eleven books and his poetry is now included in the curriculum of New Zealand High Schools.

Hone Tuwhare was born near Kaikohe and at the age of twelve began an apprenticeship as a boilermaker at the railway workshop in Auckland. He began writing poetry while working in his trade with the support of poet R.A.K Mason, and published his first collection “No Ordinary Sun” in 1964. Hone has an honorary doctorate from Otago University and has twice been the Robert Burns Fellow there. He has travelled internationally, writing and reading his work, and now in his early eighties resides at Kaka Point, in South Otago.

Often described as a ‘peoples’ poet’, Hone’s charisma and integrity allow him to connect with all ages and cultures, and as such he is a unifying influence. With waiata and powhiri from local children, footage of Hone singing in Maori, and various poems read in English, this film gives an unusual insight into the creative personality of one of New Zealand’s greatest poets.


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