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Toto - by Te Aroha Pokai Harrison-Kaa

‘Toto’ (blood) is a short documentary which briefly explores the relationship between Māori and Pākehā from the perspective of Ngāti Porou kaumatua, Keita Ngata (Ngāti Porou). ‘Toto’ serves as a lesson to rangatahi Māori to remember that we carry both Māori and Pākehā blood and the importance of respecting that, by not forgetting the hardships of either, but acknowledging the bad and choosing the good in both. This short documentary seeks to share traditional knowledge in a way that’s true to Te Ao Māori and will also resonate with rangatahi Māori.

‘Toto’ is a rangatahi-made documentary, created by a crew of students from Rāngai in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa. ‘Toto’ was directed by Te Aroha Pokai Harrison-Kaa (Ngāti Porou) in an ever-continuing venture to explore her cultural background. Assisted by Camera Operator Kaj Tata (Ngāti Ranginui) and Sound Operator Dakora Tihore.

“The relationship between Pākehā and Māori is a topic that’s always intrigued me since we descend from both, I’m always keen to learn more about my culture and ancestors, particularly by listening to my kaumatua.” says Te Aroha about the topic of ‘Toto’. “I think it’s really important to preserve our tradition of oral history, and documentaries are a great way to continue to share our stories orally in a modern context and in a way that’s accessible for everyone.”

Keita Ngata has been a prominent voice in Māori-centric media and having her weigh in on this topic was invaluable, “I learned heaps from her, not just about this specific topic but also about our own family, I could probably make ten documentaries from all the korero she shared.”

“By the time we’d finished up the shoot, I had a renewed interest and pride in my whole ancestry, not just the Māori portion.”

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