Poi E review: Documentary on Maori anthem a nostalgia trip for Kiwis

Poi E review: Documentary on Maori anthem a nostalgia trip for Kiwis

FILMPOI E ★★★½ Selected cinemas The late Dalvanius Prime might sound like a minor character from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but in New Zealand he’s an icon – an imposingly built, versatile entertainer credited with the invention of “Polynesian soul”.Video duration01:51Replay Video IconPlayer help iconVideo duration01:51Video duration02:26Video duration03:01Video duration01:59Video duration00:59Video duration00:55Video duration02:21More videosPOI E is the story of the creation of New Zealand’s iconic song of celebration, the song that became the unofficial national anthem.In the 1970s he was based in Australia, appearing alongside touring stars like Dionne Warwick and Tina Turner. After his mother’s death he returned home to Patea, a small town on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Here he reconnected with his Maori roots, collaborating with the teacher and composer Ngoi Pewhairangi on the song Poi E, aimed at fusing Maori language and tradition with a modern pop idiom.Recorded by the Patea Maori Club – an established performance group initially linked to a Methodist church – this became a No. 1 hit, a breakthrough moment in an era when Maori music was deemed to have little mainstream appeal. That moment is revisited in this extremely winning documentary by Tearepa Kahi, who seems to have found his rhythm after his underpowered first feature, the 2013 feelgood drama Mt Zion.Weaving together archival clips and present-day interviews, the film h…

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