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The Power of Illusion


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NZ Update #17.1 Safety Revisited

(This is easier to read over on Medium)

Back in October, just before the #directedbywomen screenings in Auckland, I tumbled down a steep flight of wooden steps in Auckland's Ayr Street Reserve. Cracked one ankle and broke the fibula in my other leg. Missed spring gardening. Missed all of Wanuri Kahiu's visit (but not some beautiful responses from the many people she inspired and revitalised).

Couldn't transcribe or edit my #directedbywomen Skype interview with Isabel Coixet. Couldn't edit and publish other almost-ready interviews I cherished. Couldn't organise more screenings that filmmakers had requested, with the films' directors beamed in to Te Auaha's small treasure of a cinema for Q & As, also via Skype.

After two months almost entirely at home, half-way down a pedestrian-access steep zigzag, I'm fully mobile again. With thanks to the Accident Compensation Corporation's (ACC, our universal no-fault accidental injury scheme) fine services; to…

Dana Rotberg and White Lies|Tuakiri Huna

Cushla Parekowhai and I went to previews for Dana Rotberg's new feature White Lies/Tuakiri Huna – Cush in Auckland and me down here in Wellington. And the film excited us. White Lies/Tuakiri Huna, described as 'a story about the nature of identity: those who deny it and those who strive to protect it', comes from Medicine Woman, a novella by Witi Ihimaera, who also wrote Whale Rider. (Witi is Cushla's cousin. Witi's father, Tom Smiler, and Cush's grandmother, Pani Turangi, were raised in the same household in Manutuke.)

Dana wrote, in the book that accompanies the film, that after she read Medicine Woman –
...Paraiti, the medicine woman, was a stubborn presence who refused to leave. I felt that was a clear sign that the story...was speaking to me from places other than where the original work had come from. Places that belonged to my intimate family history and my most unresolved conflicts as a person in the world. It was a call from the core of my origins to l…

NZ Update #17.2: Wellbeing & Women's Feature Filmmaking

Over on Mediumthere's a prettier, easier, read of this post.
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– I get up early on Friday 15 March. I want to complete this followup to NZ Update #17.1: Safety Revisited(Update #17.1)– about women's lack of safety in New Zealand in general and in the screen industries in particular – before I leave to support the School Strike for Climate gathering in the grounds of Parliament.
I don't quite finish before I leave home. But no problem: climate change activism is urgent, a priority in this summer/autumn when – to give just two examples – not one stick insect has appeared in our garden and very very few honey bees, although there are many flowering plants for them. Today,  the sun's intensity is shocking. Like the spring sun when the gaps in the ozone layer first affected us. Only more so.

I leave Parliament inspired and heartened by those dedicated, super-well-informed, graceful, warm and articulate activists. And moved by Maori Don…