14 Jul 2016

Poi E: A song, a legend and now a film

10:39 am on 14 July 2016

Tearepa Kahi, the director of a film about the Patea Māori Club's legendary track Poi E, says it was an easy story to tell because of all the wonderful people involved in the song.

Writer / director Tearepa Kahi (right) and leading man Maaka Pohatu take a break from filming.

Writer and director Tearepa Kahi, right and leading man Maaka Pohatu take a break from filming. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The documentary shows how Dalvanius Prime co-wrote Poi E with Ngoingoi Pēwhairangi and persuaded the Patea Māori Club to perform it 32 years ago.

The song topped the NZ charts and was the country's biggest-selling single in 1984.

The film, Poi E: The Story Behind Our Song, is having its world premiere tonight at Auckland's Civic Theatre.

The trailer for Poi E: The Story of Our Song:

Mr Kahi told Morning Report that 32-years on, some of the Patea Māori Club members have passed away but there were still stalwarts members around, and a lot of of archival material to draw from.

"So there is a lot of texture and different formats and voices from the past chiming in, as well as a lot people and co-collaborators with Dalvanius who appear in the film.

"It is the song of us, it is the story of us at the time."

The film included an appearance by the iconic breakdancer Joe Moana, who they tracked down in Australia and brought back to New Zealand for a Poi E reunion, he said.

"He changed the cultural landscape just by getting on that waka, putting those gloves on and bopping across the road.

"He's a big part of our memory of the song."

Mr Kahi said there would not have been a film without Mr Moana and people were going to fall in love with him and all the characters who tell Poi E's story.

The film has been confirmed for the New Zealand International Film Festival's opening night in Wellington on Friday 22 July, Christchurch on Thursday 28 July and Dunedin on Thursday 4 August.

Listen to Poi E by the Patea Māori Club:

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