Keskidee, a small Jamaican bird resilient in the face of hardship, is also the name of a self-help black arts centre in London, and the theatre group who work there.

Keskidee's actors and musicians were brought to New Zealand to work with communities who face similar day-to-day dilemmas and who might be encouraged to express their frustrations and anger in drama, poetry and music.  Keskidee were to act as a catalyst. the film shows some of their work and their response to the people they met.

Tribal elders try to show keskidee the depth of Maori roots in the land, and the complexity and pain of their present struggles: against the loss of Aroha; against the laws of pen and paper; the alienation of their land; the suppression of their language; the devaluation of their people and culture.

Street kids, a gang leader, a minister of the Ratana church, discuss their people's situation in the light of Keskidee's performances.

The vitality of traditional Maori culture is expressed in welcome ceremonies and ancient chants.

The complexity of the rapidly evolving, multi-cultural contemporary society is expressed in gang ritual and ingnia, in haka and waiata poi performed by high school culture groups, a Samoan village dance in jazz, rock 'n' roll, and in the chorus "stand up for your rights!"

Aroha is usually translated as 'love', but its meanings include warmly practical understanding of peoples' emotional and material needs; a knowledge of worth threatened by an abstract money system and an affiermation that the welfare of the person depends on the greater welfare of the people.

Technical Info: 
16 mm
Production Year: 
Production Company: 
Scratch Pictures
Sales Agent: 
NZ Film