Ever the Land

Ever the Land


Documentary that tracks the birth of New Zealand’s first ‘living building’, Te Wharehou o Tūhoe, and details how the building connects the Māori iwi, Ngāi Tūhoe, to the land.... More

"Bereft of talking heads, narration or identifying titles, this keenly observational sketch of New Zealand’s most fiercely independent tribe invites us into the gentle ebb and flow of Tūhoe life. The fruits are as quietly unassuming as they are serenely artful and incisive.

"Made under strict sustainability certification as part of the internationally recognised Living Building Challenge, Te Wharehou o Tūhoe is both a mammoth undertaking to watch unfold and a potent symbol of the Ngāi Tūhoe philosophy." (New Zealand International Film Festival)Hide

Flicks Review

What started off as a simple architectural documentary on Te Wharehou o Tūhoe – the living building – expanded into a cultural observation on the Ngāi Tūhoe tribe, and the significant role the construction plays into their history and their future. Containing many of the essential elements we praised The Ground We Won for, director Sarah Grohnert has crafted another enriching Kiwi film that adds to this cinematic collage of Aotearoa.... More

Instead of focusing on individuals to carry the story (à la The Ground We Won), Grohnert wisely examines Tūhoe as a collective, following the iwi’s journey as they take a bold step forward into a self-defined future – one that steers away from the murk of the past. Their history with The Crown has been difficult (to say the least) and the film outlines the struggle from Tūhoe’s perspective.

Devoid of talking heads, Ever the Land captures and pieces together natural discussions from the Tūhoe people in their element. You can call it fly-on-the-wall filmmaking, but it often feels more like they pulled a chair up for the fly as they converse about the past, the future, Tūhoe philosophy, and the importance of the living building.

Seeing the step-by-step birthing process of Te Wharehou o Tūhoe is fascinating – like watching Boyhood for a building. However, drab discussions on ventilation air flow and HDPE plumbing solutions can slow the film to an unnecessary shuffle. I also couldn’t help but feel a complementary score could have done a lot to liven the film’s artistic pulse a bit more.

Nevertheless, the film evokes a stupendous sense of serenity that culminates to enlightenment with the unveiling of Te Wharehou o Tūhoe in its full glory. Grohnert connects this glory with The Crown’s historic apology, employing a symbolic visual that is gorgeous, elegant, and breath-haltingly profound.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

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BY LouisaC nobody

“Ever the Land” is one of those rare and valuable films that opened and softened my heart.

A subtle observation piece centered around the journey of Tuhoe as they build New Zealand’s first Living Building it is also a gentle portrayal of the extra-ordinary within the ordinary and the universality of opposites and polarities: masculine and feminine, action and inaction, work and play, peace and noise, age and youth, Maori and Pakeha, poverty and wealth, and of the struggle to learn from... More the past and move forward into the future.

It is a film that does not set out to find answers. Instead, it holds the questions and the not-knowing, and it is testimony to Sarah Grohnert’s skill that I came out of the theatre feeling a sense of inner peace and acceptance, as well as having greater appreciation and compassion for the history of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and a deeper understanding of what it means to truly honour the land we live with.Hide

BY lottieh nobody

A smart and beautiful film that lets you make your own determinations about the Living Building and lets you sink into life in Tuhoe country. The film maker highlights Tuhoe's past as well as the path they intend for the future generations, but mainly it is an intimate film about relationships, the land and what makes Tuhoe who they are. Go see it!

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