Ahi Kā – Keep the Home Fires Burning was a massive projection show across the side of Te Papa Tongarewa, produced by Storybox for Wellington City Council’s third annual Matariki Ki Pōneke festival in July 2020. It was created in partnership with the Council’s Mana Whenua partners, Te Papa and Streamliner productions.
The idea was conceived during lockdown but due to the uncertainty we weren’t able to begin work until level 2. This meant we needed to turn around this massive project in just two months. Storybox Director Rob Appierdo collaborated with storyteller Toa Waaka to conceive an idea that would capture the spirit of Matariki. Performers were filmed on a green screen out at Avalon Studio and added into a series of complex animations by Streamliner productions.
Ahi Kā tells us the inspiring tale of Toa Rangatira and his famed kūmara gardens, which helped sustain his people of Ngāti Toa and the surrounding tribes in the 1600s. Toa Rangatira could tell from the stars that a long cold winter was coming, so while his brothers and relatives headed off to the battlefields, the young chief chose to stay home and care for his elders and whānau while the other warriors were away.
A Storybox/Streamliner production
Brought to you by Wellington City Council
Director Robert Appierdo
Producer/Iwi Liaison Toa Waaka
Production Manager Andrew Croot
Story Toa Waaka, Robert Appierdo, Mike Bridgman
DOP Andy Thornycroft
Animation Nick Robertson, Brett Johanson, Mike Bridgman
Graphic Design Baly Gaudin
Illustration Kimi Moana Whiting
Composer/Sound Design Will Ricketts
Taonga Puoro Rob Thorne
Shoot Production Manager Rhiain Love
Make Up & Tā Moko Technician Natalia Spooner/Ahurei Beauty
Wardrobe Charlotte Kelleher/CK Film Design
Kelly Kim Harrouk
Kaitiaki tamariki Louise Harper, Renee Clark
Narrator / Toa Rangatira Toa Waaka
Kaikaranga / Whaea Kell’i Ngakuru
Whaea Natalia Spooner
Warrior / Brother Te Waimato Ropata
Warrior / Brother Andy Hanara
Kotiro warrior Haritoa Te Hiko O Te Rangi Waaka
Tama warrior Mania Clark
Kotiro warrior Lucy Katene
Ahikā kōwhaiwhai emblem kindly provided by Takapūwāhia Marae Committee Ngāti Toa Kaumatua council
Kākahu – “Te Iti Kahurangi” courtesy of The University Of Otago Wellington
Designed by Kohai Grace
Harakeke Bodice courtesy of Frank Topia
Heru courtesy of Hinewai Parker
Te Iwa a Matariki stars artwork Te Wānanga o Aotearoa
WCC Mana whenua partners
Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika
Te Rūnanga a Toa Rangatira
Toa Waaka would like to dedicate his work to Tākuta Huirangi Waikerepuru.
For his love of the stars.