May 8, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

5 Reasons Why Mt. Zion is a Must See Movie

4 min read

Mt. Zion is a heart-warming new movie from director Tearepa Kahi (Maori Merchant of Venice; Taua) that is set to light up screens and ignite the fire in many hearts this coming Waitangi Day 2013.

We had the rare honour of attending an early screening and would like to share with you, our 5 REASONS WHY YOU MUST SEE MOUNT ZION:

  1. Its all about the Love of Music. From the opening scene right through til the last credits, the music feels like a soundtrack of home, back when times were cruisey and whanau parties would go all night long. From the waiata Maori to the electrifying original tracks throughout the movie, Mt Zion had us bobbing in our seats and tapping our toes. It has been a while since weve had a local musical, and a Maori feeling one at that. Stan Walker is amazing, the bros David, Troy and Darecy-Ray are exceptional, Tem gets on the gat and has a blast and Im sure we all have an uncle who plays the guitar with his teeth! The Soundtrack will be blasting out of every radio, stereo, car, van, house and shed for months and years to come.
  1. Its an Authentic Story. Maori whanau have always mahid with the land, even today. The story of the Pukekohe Potato Pickers is one that is being celebrated here, and you can almost feel the dirt as they move about the land, quietly doing their mahi. You can see the joy in their faces, and hear the sadness when more challenges are pressed upon their shoulders. It is funny as, with jokes, turns of phrases, natural good humour and crack up lines all across the film. We also loved hearing about the local whanau who came to offer advice on the movie and were asked to stay on as film extras. They all turned up in their work clothes, bringing that proud whakapapa of effort into this new movie. Kia ora nga whanau mahi, nga whanau aroha.

Mt Zion Whu or Whaaa

  1. Its a Maori Story. From the cast to the crew, we could see, hear and feel Maori ahua all around the movie. We heard te reo Maori being spoken and understood as easily as English. There were Maori kids all over the place and kai was offered as koha to the kaumatua, which in itself promoted a koha gathering by one of the koroua later in the movie. You could imagine a group of cuzzies hanging out for a jam, just as easily as being the one who doesnt quite fit in, or being told to do the wero at the marae. For me as a Maori, it made me proud to see us represented honestly on the big screen. For others who may not be Maori, it opens a window to our culture, our people, and some of the dynamics still at play in our whanau-hapu-iwi, in a natural way.
  1. Uncle Bob. This movie looks behind one interview – the one when music reporter Dylan Taite met with Bob Marley – and re-imagined a new korero. We all know that uncle Bob Marley is one of us. He is a lion of the land and a prophet of freedom for all people held in mental slavery. As a son of Jamaica and a follower of tapu teaching, his ahua resonated here, and Maori then, as now, feel a shared wairua with the great man. It is fitting that Bob Marley is born on the same day that we celebrate/mourn the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and fitting still that the movie Mt. Zion will be released on February 6, 2013.
  1. Its about Whanau. Sometimes, Maori movies are too hard out for our tamariki, like Once Were Warriors and Rain of the Children. It has been choice to see movies like Boy and Whale Rider open up the korero for our tamariki to learn our stories and Mt. Zion looks at how a Papa and his sons cope with mahi, how a young mokopuna named Toko deals with being apart from his Mama and then re-emerges as a young saviour. There are kids everywhere, as well as rangatahi, pakeke, kaumatua, kuia, koroua. The story doesnt go too fast, so it is easy to follow and the level of violence, drinking and drugs is more a background prop rather than a main character. We look forward to sitting and showing our kids this film cos they will get it, and Im sure my parents will sit and watch and reminisce in their own way.

All in all, we highly recommend MT. ZION. If you have the time, please get along and see it at your local movie theatre. Take the whanau – I bet they will be laughing and singing the whole way through. Maunga Hiona!

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