The Price of Peace, a film driven by passion
On the Maison de la Culture paepae, the director and producer of The Price of Peace carefully listen to comments by Heiura Itae-Tetaa, who works at Archipel Production. The young woman is in charge of interviewing the two professionals about their documentary in front of a rather shy audience to kick off the afternoon. Before beginning, she sets the scene, and recalls that this film is in fact the follow up to the first, October 15. Screened at FIFO in 2012, this documentary already tracked the character Tame Iti, a Maori activist. It recounted the army attack on the Tuhoe tribe by the military police which suspected a certain number of inhabitants of ‘terrorism.’ It was 2007 at the time. The Price of Peace tells the rest of the story, the trial, the arrests, the suffering of the families but also the reconciliation between these two cultures, these two worlds that do not communicate with or understand each other.
The Maori perspective
‘People were really shocked by the way in which the police stormed in and stirred everyone up,’ explains a fragile looking Kim Webby, who emotionally describes the standing ovation that the film received during its screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival. ‘European New Zealanders appreciated learning more about it.’ The Maori thanked the director by standing up to sing. ‘It was magical,’ the moved director, as well as seasoned journalist, confesses. Recognised for her professionalism in her country, Kim Webby followed Tame Iti, the main offender for seven years. He is an important figure in Maori culture. Kim Webby and he have known each other for years. She therefore had no trouble following Tame Iti. In actual fact, the one person the journalist did not manage to succeed in convincing to speak is the director of the police action, he never responded to any of my requests for an interview. ‘In the end, I found it more interesting to focus on the tribe’s perspective as we are less familiar with it.’
The producer of the documentary, sitting next to her, Christine Milligan followed the progress of her director for these seven long years. ‘It may have been a long time, but we couldn’t let this story go,’ she explains before focusing on the value of the subject and Kim Webby’s enthusiasm. ‘That’s where the strength of the subject lies.’ On the funding side, Christine Milligan is open about the fact that it wasn’t easy. Kim Webby humorously describes moreover how they were reduced to ‘steal’ a camera ‘that we returned of course, but once the work had been done!’ The two women also remember all the hours they worked for the sheer love of it. Something that the two women share… ‘Are the Maoris experiencing a cultural revival?’ questions Tom, one spectator who is bold enough to ask a question. The young man is curious. He wants to know more about his Polynesian cousins. ‘Yes, yes, it’s very strong. This is interpreted in terms of cultural expression, through rap, graffiti and tattooing. New Zealand and Tahiti are the two countries in the world where people have the most tattoos.’ The conversation with the public stops there. A final thank you concludes the interview.