Mana Moana is a collaboration between Māori and Pasifika musicians, artists, writers and choreographers. It is a series of five short art films, fusing poetry, dance, song, painting, photography and animation. Instead of projecting on a traditional film screen, Mana Moana explores its themes of ocean, migration and diaspora on a screen of projected water.
The water screen – a feat of engineering – propels into the air millions of water drops that fall and catch the light, creating a screen that gives the illusion of images appearing from the darkness and floating on water.
Mana Moana is curated by Michael Bridgman and Rachael Rakena. Rakena, a well known-artist whose own work frequently uses water, says having the films screen in this way affirms the project’s kaupapa. “These films explore indigenous relationships and identities with the ocean. As we grapple with climate change, our futures will be linked in new ways. Water is connective tissue – the seas connect us all between the islands of the Pacific – and Mana Moana is literally projecting its stories on water. In the face of our climate emergency this work is timely and relevant”.
Rakena paired artists from different disciplines together, to cross-pollinate and create wholly new works. Senior Maori artist Robyn Kahukiwa’s paintings are animated and partnered with text by Tina Ngata, Dayle Takitimu and Michelle Ngamoki; Karlo Mila’s poetry is complemented by Michael Bridgman’s animated patterns; Johnson Witehira’s contribution makes waves across three of the projects; Louise Potiki Bryant has worked with dancer Rosie Tapsell with music by longtime partner, Paddy Free; and Warren Maxwell’s music links the films, threading its way through the sequence.
Mana Moana ran nightly from the 28th of June to the 3rd of July from 6-9pm at Wellington Habour’s lagoon and was part of Wellington City Council’s Matariki ki Pōneke 2019. It is available for further screenings and events.
For more information about booking Mana Moana please contact Andrew Croot at Storybox.
Ki uta ki tai, 2019
Concept, Direction, Animation and Editorial: Louise Potiki Bryant
Director of Photography: Matt Gillanders
Music: Paddy Free & James Webster
Dancer: Rosie Tapsell
Costume: Rona Ngahuia Osborne
Ka Rāranga Wai, 2019
Painting: Robyn Kahukiwa
Poetry: Michelle Ngamoki, Tina Ngata & Dayle Takitimu
Animation: Johnson Witehira
Soundscape: Warren Maxwell
A call to Kāinga, 2019
Poetry & Performance: Karlo Mila
Direction, Animation & Editorial: Micheal Bridgman
Pattern designs: Johnson Witehira
Soundscape: Warren Maxwell
Collapsed Worlds, 2019
Concept, Animation & Editorial: Johnson Witehira
Music: Rio Hemopo- Hunuki
Ka puna te wai, ko te kāwai puna, 2015
Concept, Direction & Editorial: Rachael Rakena
Music: Composed By Afuha’amango, Sung and recorded by Fuekafa
Performers: Lupe Fisilau & Namomo Schaaf
Director of Photography: Dion O’Connor