The stories of Maori spiritual leaders are explored in THE PROPHETS, a captivating new series to premiere on Maori Television on Tuesday, May 7 at 8.00pm.
Presented by Rev Hirini Kaa (son of the late Dr Hone Kaa) and produced by the award-winning Scottie Douglas Productions, THE PROPHETS uncovers the epic stories of the Maori prophets who rose to prominence in times of great change.
"The tales of individual prophets has been the inspiration for films, novels and history books, but there has never been a comprehensive account for television - until now," says producer Meg Douglas.
From the time The Bible began to be widely translated into te reo Maori in the 1830s through to the middle of the 20th century, the show chronicles the lives, beliefs and social conditions that saw these messianic figures rise from within Maori communities.
Starting with leaders like Papahurihia, the first prophet to draw on Maori and Christian doctrine, emerging with a new form of traditional Maori spirituality to more well-known prophets (Te Kooti, Te Whiti and Tohu and Ratana), THE PROPHETS unveils an incredible part of our nation’s history.
Over seven episodes, the series personifies the response to colonisation and a spiritual paradigm that is almost unimaginable to conceive of today.
"Some of their narratives are stories of reconciliation and peace, while others are tales soaked in blood," says Douglas.
One episode profiles Te Kooti Arikirangi, founder of the Ringatu faith, and resistance leader who spent time on the run from colonial forces in the Urewera.
Another prophet, Rua Kenana, seen as the heir of Te Kooti, constructed a village in the heart of the Urewera to house his growing number of followers, and was later arrested as the government became more concerned over his growing influence in New Zealand.
Journeying around the country, THE PROPHETS reveals the true stories of these iconic figures, challenging not only our own perceptions of their lives, beliefs and teachings, but also Rev Kaa’s own spiritual beliefs.
"I found it wasn’t just my sense of history that has been challenged, the experience has transformed me on a personal level. I guess you could say I’ve undergone a bit of spiritual metamorphosis during the making of this series," says Kaa.
Produced by Meg Douglas, directed by Tainui Stephens and Libby Hakaraia and shot by legendary cinematographer, Leon Narbey, THE PROPHETS is Scottie Productions’ most ambitious project yet.
Tune in to THE PROPHETS on Tuesday, May 7 at 8.00pm on Maori Television.
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