Six Māori Battalion soldiers wait for night to fall in the ruins of an Italian home. Forced into silence they keep themselves amused like any boys would, with jokes and laughter. As they try to ignore the reminders of war around them, a tohu (sign) brings them back to the world of the dying.
They gather to say a karakia (prayer) to unite their spirits before they head back into the dark of war.
Every culture has its stories and its heroes. For us, the men of the 28 (Māori) Battalion are legendary. These were soldiers who owed no allegiance to a flag but fought and died in their thousands because they were warriors at heart. When they fought they fought for their own lands and their own families, and whilst they encountered racism from their own within the army, their name and their faces became legendary on both sides of the War.
There have been numerous books written and documentaries made on the 28 (Māori) Battalion. Tama Tū is the first drama told of our men and that war. What’s more, it is not a typical, sombre war story. It captures the humour and heart of these soldiers as well as the tragedy of the time. It is a tribute to all of those soldiers of 28 Battalion who were lost and to the mana (status) and lives of those who were not. It is a film made by us for them that we now take to the world in their honour.