Tearepa Kahi shares a memory of Bill Gosden:
E te kaituitui… One backstory about Bill from one of his programmed films, from amongst his forty years as the NZIFF Director.
When we carried Merata out of Pukehina Marae and started the procession from waharoa to urupā, a phone call was made. Merata passed away on the 31st of May and the NZIFF programme for 2010 was locked. All corners of the globe covered, all artists emerging and established invited, all topics, themes and mediums assigned, on time, as was his way. But the phone call was still made.
There needed to be an addition to the programme. Merata warranted a spotlight memorial screening, Mauri needs to be there. The response was silence. Bill was not a reactionary person. He lived with access to higher planes of thought. The mechanics of the printing, the screen access, the venue, the tickets, the date and the audience didn’t feature in his thinking. It was there, but he was turning his gaze above. And I could feel the tilt of his gaze in his silence.
Almost a year to the day, the programmer called with news about the film funded by Princess Te Puea, safe guarded by Te Ariki-nui and edited by Merata and Annie, in a room below Kimiora at Turangawaewae Marae, with Piri Poutapu, Rena Ngātaki and Neha Tahapēhi each helping to shape the film with voice and memory. Mana Waka was released to the world in 1990 at the historic Civic Theatre, and in 2011, in memorial to Merata, Bill hauled the waka back onto the screen via a brand new black and white restoration print thanks to Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.
Te Warena Taua performed the Whakatau for Kingi Tuheitia, who was joined amongst others, by Aunty Rena, Te Puea’s daughter, and her husband Uncle Neha. Merata’s son Eruera gave the whānau address and the Civic was silenced by the sight of trees felled, of logs hauled, of form found, and of waka crossing the screen to the tempo of filmmakers open to the influences of a living Marae.
Needless to say, there were a lot of forces at play in the Civic that night.
And then the lights came up, the cups were filled, the people went home, and the Civic beckoned the next film in the programme to play.
For Bill, it wasn’t just another night. Which is what he did, again and again, across forty years, with moves seen and unseen, weaving always.
E te kaituitui,
e tuitui ana,
ā roto ki waho,
ā runga ki raro,
ā mua ki muri,
moe mai rā, e te hoa.