• 01Sep

    Moana: A Romance of the Golden Age

    A rare chance to see and discuss an exceptional film



    New Zealand’s premiere public screening of the restored 1926 film Moana: A Romance of the Golden Age is on 1 September at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision – the audiovisual archive.


    Co-directed by husband and wife team Robert and Frances Flaherty and shot in the Safune district, Savai’i, Samoa in 1923-24, Moana is the first feature-length film to be noted as having “documentary value”. In 1975 Monica Flaherty returned to Savai’i to create a soundtrack for her parents’ silent film. Independent film archivist Bruce Posner restored and digitally remastered the film in 2014. Just as the upcoming Disney movie Moana is currently raising controversy for its oafish, slapstick depiction of Maui, the 90-year-old Moana also lends itself to debate.


    A still from the film Moana showing a Samoan woman painting on tapa bark cloth


    As New York film editor and writer Alan Scherstuhl writes of the 1926 film:

    “Moana, a film of incomparable calm and beauty, is not a documentary in the strict sense, but it remains a document of great historical truth: Here is how Flaherty and the Western world preferred to imagine that tribal cultures lived… How much is an accurate depiction of these lives?”



    In May this year, a private screening of the restored film was held in Wellington for descendants of the Safune district. “It was important to return this footage first of all to the people whose ancestors’ lives and images are recorded in this film,” says Diane Pivac, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s outreach & engagement manager.



    Screening : Moana: A Romance of the Golden Age

    When: 6pm, 1 September and 4.30pm, 3 September
    Where: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington



    Moana Symposium

    When: 9am-5pm, 2 September
    Where: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington
    Cost: Free, register online to reserve your space
    Guest speakers: include Sima Urale, Victor Rodger, Sean Mallon, Teresia Teaiwa, Nathaniel Lees, Karlo Mila and Tusi Tamasese.



    Information & bookings at:

    Hosted by the Stout Research Centre of Victoria University in partnership with Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

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