Ruahine: Stories in Her Skin + Pasifika Stories Bundle (2019)

  • 2019
  • Biography, History, Indie
  • 40min

Hiona Henare’s beautifully lyrical and intimate documentary closes in tightly on the art and meaning of tatau in ‘Ruahine: Stories in her Skin’, which was among the winners at this year’s FIFO in Tahiti. For Māori women receiving their traditional moko kauae (chin tattoos), they are visually asserting their birthright and identity while celebrating the mana (spiritual power) of their whakapapa (ancestry). Taking viewers inside two moko kauae ceremonies, Ruahine explores the powerful and personal reasons for women getting the tattoo, the practice once suppressed through legislation and now experiencing a resurgence. Henare’s access delivers an uninhibited and unobstructed experience, filled with traditional songs and story. This screening is accompanied by a conversation with filmmaker, Hiona Henare.

**This bundle includes short films Pasifika Stories: Taonga kiriata poto listed as bonus content below. **


English, Maori


New Zealand


Brown Bitty Pictures, Muaūpoko Trial Authority

Bonus Content

1h 11m
Pasifika Stories: Taonga kiriata poto

As a mix of fiction, experimental filmmaking, and documentaries, Pasifika Shorts foreground events, stories, and wisdom previously buried as well as the strength of communities as they stand together against the ongoing impacts of colonialism. The incredible films remind us of not only the resilience of First Nation cultures and womxn, but also how we might learn from them to create a fairer and more sustainable future.

Directors, Writers & Producers: Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson / United States / 2020 / 8 mins

The Moon and The Night
Director: Erin Lau / United States / 2018 / 19 mins

Our Atoll Speaks, Ko Talatala Mai Tō Mātou Wenua
Director: Gemma Cubero del Barrio / Writers: Gemma Cubero del Barrio, Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky, Florence Ngatokorua “Johnny” Tiane Frisbie / Producer: Gemma Cubero del Barrio, Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky / United States / 2019 / 12 mins

Director: Victoria Hunt / Writers: Victoria Hunt, Margot Nash / Producer: Margot Nash / Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom / 2020 / 9 mins

Standing Above the Clouds
Director: Jalena Keane-Lee / Writer: Diana Diroy / Producer: Amber Espinosa-Jones, Jalena Keane-Lee, Pua Case / United States / 2019 / 15 mins

Director & Writer: Kath Akuhata-Brown / Producer: Verity Mackintosh, Julian Arahanga / New Zealand / 2020 / 6 mins

Read more about these shorts on the ACMI Website.

Filmmaker discussion with Director Hiona Henare

Ruahine: Stories in Her Skin director, Hiona Henare, speaks with MWFF programmer Sonja Hammer about the making of the film and the cultural and spiritual significance of moko kauae (traditional chin tattoo) for wahine (Māori women).

ACMI acknowledges the Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, on whose land we meet, share and work. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or text.