Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Celebrities and Maori celebrate Vincent Ward’s book launch.
A powhiri at Papawai Marae, the grounds of the first Maori parliament, Kotahitanga in 1897 kicked off the weekend. Guests were treated to a kapahaka performance by Papawai who perform in colonial dress and soldiers uniforms. Attire they feel best represents the struggle their people went through during the land wars where 400 of their young men went to fight, 200 on one side and 200 on the opposing forces. To avoid further division which were already tearing families apart Papawai joined the rest of the Wairarapa in a decision not to join the conflict, instead the region stayed neutral and welcomed all groups to their meeting ground.
Ward grew up not far from this Marae and it is no coincidence that something of these themes; cultural division and reconciliation through often intimate engagement have found echoes in his work. In fact the costumes worn by the kapahaka group were gifted to them from his film River Queen.
The launch itself was held at the Town Center, Greytown a building constructed by Ward’s ancestors. TV presenter Miriama Kamo acted as MC and Ward presented Rena Owen with one of his oil paintings (overdue payment for her role in his film Rain of the Children).
“The people of Wairarapa and Greytown really pulled out all the stops to host a terrific event, the local firemen even volunteered to serve the drinks.” says Ward.
Captions above pics, top to bottom:
Vincent Ward (center), Paora Ammunsen and Peter Rewi from Papawai Marae (left), TV presenter Miriama Kamo MC (far right), with the kapahaka group from Papawai marae.
Julie Ranginui from Whanganui iwi (centre) leads the manuhiri (guests) into the Greytown Town Centre during the book launch welcome.
Rena Owen, Vincent Ward with his sons Ariel and Finch Te Maipi (centre), Julie Ranganui (right) Chris Finlayson Minister of Arts and Culture (far right).