Director’s Notes


2005 in New Zealand was election year. The National party had been making little traction on Labour’s command of Government for some time, but in election year, tactics and strategies are euphemisms for desperation and desperation knows no limit when it comes to securing public votes. Don Brash (leader of the National Party) initiated his strategy with a speech in Orewa. His speech focused on the inequality and predilection on behalf of the current Government (Labour) towards ‘race based funding’ (or Maori favouring policy) as well as a call for our Nation’s founding document – The Treaty of Waitangi – to be shelved. Orewa is the first graphic word/ image screened in The Speaker.


General public responded and National stock soared meaning Labour were forced to both adapt and adopt. Labour reacted by retracting their stance towards Maori and a current claim by a Taranaki Iwi/ Tribe (Ngati Apa) was dismissed from court at Prime Minister Helen Clark’s behest. The crux being; Maori should not have legal standing to lodge land claims on the Foreshore or Seabed. Furthermore, that this area of Aotearoa should belong to the ‘Crown’.


A Hikoi (march) consisting of over one hundred thousand people (people participated at various legs of the march) was initiated and we walked from Te Reinga (Far North) and on to every main centre on the way to Paremata/ Parliament.When we arrived at the Beehive (Government House), Prime Minister Helen Clark stationed her back towards the twenty thousand people outside her office window and chose instead to make comment about a sheep named Shrek. Hikoi is the opening title track in The Speaker.


Steven Wallace was a young man who was shot four times by a police officer in Waitara whilst in a drunken state and wielding a golf club. In 2005, the police commission found that there was nothing wrong with the officer’s action or conduct. In 2005 Irene Asher dialled the New Zealand emergency phone line telling the operator she was not safe. Irene was sent a taxi that arrived 3 hours later. Her body has yet to be recovered.


The best tag I’ve ever witnessed was National’s ‘Beaches IWI – KIWI Billboard’ (election campaign). The message claimed Labour acted on behalf of Maori, whereas National worked in the best interests of all New Zealanders. The billboard was successful in that it persuaded the general public from the issue and the truth: Labour dismissed justice by overturning a court ruling giving Ngati Apa the clearance to further their land claim and National tagged the message. But if our ‘Beaches’ are to be preserved then Maori need to remain as kaitiaki, as they have for the last two thousand years. IWI = ALL.


Tagging has become an urban menace in each city centre in New Zealand. Artists are outnumbered by light weights who run around placing their meaningless initials on city walls - young kids trying to talk but saying nothing. Our Speaker journeys against a back drop which incorporates degrees of all these elements in 2005 New Zealand. He is a small time tagger who feels political frustration and tries to communicate to the masses but can’t find the words speak to his own brother. He seeks revenge for his brother but as he moves around each corner, he learns small lessons which transform a potentially destructive into a triumphant apology.


Tearepa Kahi

Technical Info: 
35mm 1:1:85 Dolby Digital SP Beta/ Digibeta/ 35mm
Production Year: 
Production Company: 
Fat Cap Films
2006 - Berlin International Film Festival, Message Sticks Film Festival, New Zealand International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Wairoa Maori Film Festival.
Sales Agent: 
NZ Film

Key Cast

Key Crew

Director of Photography
Rhys Duncan
David Tokios