Watch: tūmanako (hope) fuels 8 new NZ stories from Loading Docs

Loading Docs, Aotearoa’s mighty platform for local short-form documentaries, have released a new collection available to watch. For free. Right here.

Now in its eighth season, this year’s Loading Docs films tell stories about tūmanako (hope). Can the haka be reclaimed from international appropriation? How does someone live with a 50% chance of getting a fatal disease? Is there anything that could change a chauvinistic dad’s point of view?

These questions and more are explored by some of New Zealand’s freshest filmmakers. See below for the full line-up .

The Scam

Director: Oliver Dawe | Producer: Amanda Jenkins

The ultimate scam lures an elderly beekeeper around the world in this wild true-crime tale.

From Greymouth to São Paulo’s slums, Roy Arbon’s adventure ends in kidnap and imprisonment on foreign soil leaving him facing life behind bars. Uncovering every twist and turn of his riches-to-rags ride, does he really understand how close he came to catastrophe?

When Nobody Was Looking

Director: Alex Sutherland | Producer: Bianca Delalic

An entomologist takes on the 1970s New Zealand Government uncovering institutional racism and child abuse.

Dr. Oliver Sutherland discovers disturbing cases of abused children in state care, including imprisonment and torture of children as young as nine. Fighting a racist system, the insect scientist stands up to expose abuse in the notorious Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital, but will justice ever be served?

Fifty Percent

Director: Lillian Hanly | Producer: Sara Shirazi

With a 50% chance of inheriting a fatal disease, is it better to know your future or live in the moment?

Lillian Hanly has a 50/50 chance of inheriting Huntington’s, a neurodegenerative disease. With a number of her family testing positive for the gene, and her mother already affected by it, she must come to a decision. Get tested now or continue to live on in the unknown.

Night Ride

Director: Todd Karehana | Producer: Samantha Dutton

When a mother of ten returns nightly to the old family home to feed stray cats, her son questions its connection to the death of his brother.

A 66-year-old mother has an unusual ritual of returning to her old family home to care for stray cats. Worrying about the implications of her obsessive routine, her son wants to understand why. Joining her night rides, it’s time to unravel the truth.

Wind, Song and Rain

Director: Matariki Bennett | Producer: Rachel Fawcett

Hone Tuwhare, New Zealand’s most famous Māori poet, leaves a legacy to the granddaughter he left behind. To reconnect, she writes a love letter to the world.

A national treasure whose poetry spanned over 40 years, the world knew Hone Tuwhare. His mokopuna Manaia never did. Now 18 years old, Manaia feels her koro calling her, triggering an emotional journey of connection in te reo Māori to prove there’s another Tuwhare who writes poetry.

The Weedfish

Directors: Matt Silcock & Aart van Dijk | Producer: Zoe-Rose Herbert

The hunt for an elusive fish in New Zealand’s disappearing kelp forests sends two marine scientists on a deep underwater dive.

Our waters are under threat. In a bold attempt to defend them, two marine researchers and photographers embark on a wild search for the Crested Weedfish. The goal, capture a powerful photo of the rarely-seen fish before its home is damaged beyond repair.

Only Human

Director: Mia Maramara | Producer: Kate Goodwin

A social media fight over sexism is the last straw for the liberal daughter of a chauvinistic father.

The youngest daughter of an old fashioned father can no longer accept their irreconcilable differences. Revisiting her Filipino upbringing to find out why her Dad is the way he is, she must decide whether to cut him out of her life for good.

HAKA haha

Director: Corinna Hunziker | Producer: Justin Scott

There’s cultural appropriation in the air as kaka haka are debated by the people of Aotearoa.

Terrible overseas renditions of the haka have begun transforming our proud expression of Māori identity into a viral joke. Self-appointed ‘cultural warden’ JP sets out to ask the question; when is it OK to haka?