When the film finished, the audience clapped. Need I say more?
To be honest, I’d never heard of the song Poi E even though this film seemed to think that everyone in the world had. Released in 1984, it reached No 1 on the charts in New Zealand and was performed at a Royal Command performance. The lyrics were written by Maori-speaker Ngoi Pēwhairangi and the music, a blend of traditional Maori song with a steady beat, was written by Dalvanius Prime, a supporting artist for acts like Isaac Hayes. He did not speak Maori himself, and was largely disengaged from his community until returning home and working with the local Patea Maori Club in a small town threatened with the closure of the local meat works.
It’s a terrific documentary about language and culture; the interviews are funny and engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed it.