SELECTED: HAWAII INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2021
Set in New Zealand over six decades, this poignant story (based on a novel by Patricia Grace) follows the lives of three female cousins who share a strong bond even as they are separated by unfortunate events.
Taken away from her family, introverted and watchful Mata is the child of a Māori mother and an unbearable Pākehā father. Spoilt Makareta, raised to be the princess of her tribe, is educated in two worlds. Missy is cheeky but dutiful, and although often overlooked, she is the heartbeat of her family.
When Makareta flees an arranged marriage and heads off to study law and start the search for her lost cousin, she leaves behind Missy (Rachel House, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Bellbird) who takes over her role of kaitiaki (guardian) of the land. As time passes, the cousins struggle to make sense of their own lives, their family, and the outside influences that constantly change their circumstances.
New Zealand filmmakers Ainsley Gardiner (producer, The Breaker Upperers, Boy) and Briar Grace Smith (Waru, writer The Strength of Water) weave a beautiful story of changing times, ultimately celebrating the power of identity, family, and love of the land.