Rain of the Children

Director: Vincent Ward
Year: 2008
Country: New Zealand
Running time: 102 mins

New Zealand
Producers: Vincent Ward, Marg Slater, Tainui Stephens
Iwi co-producer: Kero Nancy Tait
Co-producer: Catherine Fitzgerald
Screenplay: Vincent Ward
Photography: Leon Narbey, Adam Clark
Editor: Chris Plummer
Production designer: Shayne Radford
Music: John Gibson, Jack Body
In English and Maori with English subtitles
M violence, offensive language

With: Miriama Rangi, Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison, Taungaroa Emile, Waihoroi Shortland, Toby Morehu, Mahue Tawa, Mikaira Tawhara, Harmony Wihapi

Festivals: Sydney 2008

"Vincent Ward's (River Queen, Map of the Human Heart) deeply personal and incredibly moving film unravels and re-imagines the story of Puhi, the Tuhoe woman he documented in 1978 for his early film In Spring One Plants Alone. Then she was 80 and caring for her schizophrenic adult son, and Ward was 21, a young art student capturing her way of life. While not the subject of his earlier film, Puhi believed herself to be cursed, and this unknowable curse is what preoccupies Ward now. Puhi, he discovers, was an extraordinary woman. Chosen by Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana to marry his son, she survived the 1916 police raid on Rua's Maungapohatu community and went on to have 14 children. Cutting between early footage, his own to-camera narration, contemporary interviews with Tuhoe descendents, and magnificently recreated historical sequences (featuring Rena Owen as the older Puhi among a superb cast of Maori actors); Ward reveals both the heartrending background of Puhi's belief in the curse, and her lasting power over him." — Clare Stewart, Sydney Film Festival 2008