Set in the misty mountains of Lake Waikaremoana another generation is poised to inherit the land. With a heavy heart the old matriarch Nanny Oriwa sends for her grandson pinning all her hopes for the land and family on him.
In the Tūhoe tribe of the bush clad mountain forests of New Zealand, women and land are the essence of life. For women and land Tūhoe would go to war, they would fight to the death.
In Tuhoe the two are inextricably intertwined. Women represent the mother earth, the womb is “whenua”& “whenua” is the name for land.
“Ūkaipō Whenua” is land inherited through the female line.
Nanny Oriwa an elderly woman sends for her beloved grandson to come home from the city to sort the inheritance of her land. She is dying and fears that her land will be divided, and with it her family.
This the second film written and directed by Kararaina Rangihau who draws on her deep knowledge and heritage from the land and the people who fiercely guard even to this day its traditions, language and customs.
Totally in the Māori language (with English subtitles) the film follows the return of Michael, recalled from his urban life by his grandmother to settle her land affairs before she dies. But his arrival and efforts are met with suspicion and resistance from the rest of the family.
Nanny Oriwa’s eldest son Ben runs the neglected and rundown family farm, he is suspicious of the proposed family trust and secretly afraid that the farm will be taken from him. His younger brother Joe with his partner Desray, care for their elderly mother. Joe would love nothing more than to make something of the farm and their family land.
Michael must also confront his past for Desray was the childhood sweetheart he left behind.
The film’s cast are all local people with a deep connection to the story. Kararaina Rangihau believes this story will resonate with indigenous people throughout the world who want to hold on to their land, but their families have become separated and isolated.
Their love for their mother/grandmother and the land binds them and with this bequest Nanny Oriwa seeks to hold the land and her family together even after she has departed this world.