Screened as part of NZIFF 2020

LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears 2020

Directed by Anna Marbrook

Director Anna Marbrook honours the last voyage of the great waka maker, sailor and mentor Ema Siope, whose journeys between Aotearoa and Sāmoa in search of healing, and her family’s reckoning with systemic abuse, are powerfully documented.

Aotearoa New Zealand / Samoa In English and Samoan with English subtitles
94 minutes DCP / VOD with optional English CC



Anna Marbrook
Jim Marbrook

Executive Producers

Dr Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni
Dame Gaylene Preston


Dr Ai’iloilo Elise Puni
Dr Leulua’iali’i Laumua Tunufa’i

Tohunga Ahurewa

Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr

Tohunga tārai waka

James Eruera


Jess Charlton


Malcolm Clarke


Matthew Suttor


Lilo Ema Siope

LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears is having its World Premiere in cinema at ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland, on Saturday 25 July at 7.00PM. See here for details & tickets.

This film is screening in select cinemas and venues across the country. See here for details.

The redemptive tale of waka builder and captain Lilo Ema Siope’s final years, the stunning LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears is a chronicle of journeys – journeys of migration, spirituality, voyaging, healing and coming home. Confronting intergenerational trauma head on, the Siope family returns to their homeland of Sāmoa. For Ema’s father, this is his first time back to his birthplace since leaving in 1959. The result is a poignant yet tender story of a family’s unconditional love for each other, and a commitment to becoming whole again.

Ema was born and raised in South Auckland as a child of Samoan migrants. She captained both the Haunui Waka Hourua and Aotearoa One, both of which belong to the great waka master Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr. Ema’s key role in the revival of voyaging saw her become an important mentor for future generations of voyagers.

Directed by Ema’s friend Anna Marbrook, the project developed alongside the pair’s friendship while spending time together on the waka. LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears builds on Marbrook’s previous documentary works which highlight both the resurgence of voyaging and the silencing of its history by colonisation, while extending a raw and stirring tribute to an extraordinary truth seeker. — Lana Lopesi

About the Filmmaker
Anna Marbrook comes from an extensive theatre and live performance background. Her factual on-screen work, which focuses on Pacific themes, includes the 10-part Waka Warriors series, the Real Pasifik series and the feature-length documentary Te Mana o te Moana: The Pacific Voyagers.

This film contains themes and conversations about sexual and familial abuse.
If you need help some New Zealand resources are here.
Pasifika resources are here.