May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Maori Whanau set to captivate at Berlin Film Festival

2 min read

This Way of Life, an extraordinary self-funded documentary shot over 4 years about a local Maori family and their relationship to nature and each other, is about to have its European premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival.

ThisWayofLifeF“A moving and inspiring documentary about one extraordinary family and their life beyond the Ruahine ranges. The head of the family, Peter Karena, is a horse-whisperer, philosopher, hunter and builder, husband and father. Despite seemingly overwhelming challenges, Peter refuses to compromise, and the family turns hardship into a meaningful and satisfying way of life.”

The film has just finished screening at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. had a digital korero with Barbara Sumner Burstyn just as she was flying out to London and we put a few questions to her:

( How did you come to know the Karena whanau and what are their tribal affiliations?

(Barbara Burstyn) We lived nearby and would see Peter, the father riding his horses and were captivated by him. Colleen is Ngati Maniapoto and Peter is Pakeha, adopted and brought up in a Maori family, who are Ngati Kahununu

( No doubt you had some powerful revelations having followed this whanau for such a long time, is there anything in particular that you came away with?

(BB) Yes, while the filmmakers were observing the Karena family, the Karena’s were observing the Burstyns’. We understood profoundly that the only place for observation (especially in documentary) is beside each other as equals.

( What does the whanau think about the movie gaining such considerable attention?

(BB) They are really supportive – if you scroll through some of the comments on Facebook you will see a number from whanau. We are very lucky to have experienced such support.

The documentary was developed by Cloud South Films (Tom Burstyn and Barbara Sumner Burstyn) who live on the beach in Hawkes Bay, and make socially relevant documentaries. If youd like to know more about this film click here or check out the trailer below:

You can also follow the responses of more than 1000 fans on Facebook or check out their Road to Berlin blog here.


3 thoughts on “Maori Whanau set to captivate at Berlin Film Festival

  1. I am a Pommy pakeha, and I watched this movie with awe and respect for both Peter and his family, and the Maori people in general. It was inspiring and encouraging, and should be seen by a lot more people.

  2. What an amazing movie, what an inspiration…. Peter Karena would be a brilliant tutor working with our young males

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