Rain of the Children
A truly extraordinary documentary-drama filmed over a period of thirty years or more. In this film, Ward explores the life story of an elderly Māori woman of the Tuhoe iwi (tribe), Puhi, and her mentally ill adult son, Niki. This story has been masterfully told by Ward, who lived with Puhi and Niki over a two year period. It is comprised of multiple narratives drawn together over decades and interwoven to form a very moving and compelling biographical account of their remarkable lives, their relationship and their daily struggle to survive.
Ward leads the viewer into New Zealand’s Urewera ranges – a beautiful yet brutal terrain – to learn more about Puhi’s life. ‘Rain of the Children’ is a challenging film but it is also immensely rewarding — a story of loss, injustice, forgiveness, tragedy, courage and love. It will live with you for weeks after. The film is interspersed with old footage, re- enactments, interviews and Ward’s own narrative. Unlike ‘River Queen’, here the narrative is not intrusive or excessive. Ward navigates the documentary clear of romanticism or over- sentimentality. The score and cinematography are of the highest caliber. Ward provides us with glimpses of the Tuhoe people, their history, their communities, their prophet, Rua Kenana, and their spirituality. This is without question the finest NZ documentary-drama I’ve seen. [imdb]