Tupaias Endeavour

Lala Rolls's three-part mini-series Tupaia's Endeavour is about to screen over three weeks on Maori TV - and it uses some unconventional techniques to ask the question, "Without Tupaia, would Captain Cook have survived his first Pacific voyage?"

Six years in the making, Tupaia's Endeavour will debut on Sunday 30 July at 3pm, and continue on the two subsequent Sundays. It was shot in Tahiti, New Zealand and the UK. (Jan Beiringa and Viv Winter were also key to the project.)

Artist Michel Tuffery, actor Kirk Torrance and anthropologist Paora Tapsell uncover Tupaia, the Tahitian who accompanied Lt. James Cook on his first Pacific voyage. In doing so, they reveal our New Zealand; a nation seeded from Ra'iatea, Tahiti and forged under a British flag.

The award-winning documentary film from director/producer/editor Lala Rolls features interviews and re-enactments - but also breaks the fourth wall, revealing their preparation and using Michel's art to build the picture.It allows viewers to accompany Kirk, Michel and the people of Tai Rawhiti (Gisborne region) on their own voyage of discovery.

Tupaia, a 52-minute French-language version, premiered at Tahiti's International Film Festival, FIFO, in 2016 and won an International Jury prize. Tupaia's Endeavour - Te Ha Cut, a two-hour special, premiered in Gisborne in October 2016. An international feature-film version is at rough cut, and Lala is seeking funding to finish it.

Dame Anne Salmond (also a key interviewee), says: "The film is extraordinary. I love the way that Māori and Tahitian voices give their own, unmediated accounts of what happened when the Endeavour arrived in Tahiti and New Zealand. They confront the violence and cross-purposes involved in those meetings with grace and humour, as well as anger and sorrow. So important for the country and internationally as well."

Lala says, "We would love to hear your thoughts, have discussions and answer questions. We made this film to create conversations - so let's talk."

Head on over to their Facebook page to see a few teasers and behind-the-scenes info. Roll on Sunday!

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