In 1881 the children of Parihaka greeted the government invaders with white feathers of peace. Tatarakihi tells the story of a ‘journey of memory’ taken by a group of Parihaka children who travel to the South Island 130 years later.
They follow in the footsteps of their male ancestors who were transported south after the Taranaki land confiscations of the 1860s. Wellington War Memorial, Addington Jail and Ripapa Island in Lyttelton Harbour are key stations on the long bus journey to the caves at Andersons Bay in Dunedin where the Parihaka men were imprisoned. The prisoners were forced to labour on buildings, roads and embankments.
These enduring expressions of Dunedin’s 19th-century prosperity were founded on something closely resembling slavery. Ensuring that the experience of the slaves endures as well, the passage of knowledge conveyed in and by Tatarakihi is both sombre and enriching. The film is narrated by the children and combines footage of their hikoi (some of it shot by the children themselves) with vivid archival photography. — Bill Gosden, NZIFF 2012