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POI E is the story of the creation of New Zealand's iconic song of celebration, the song that became the unofficial national anthem.


Te Arepa Kahi


Te Arepa Kahi
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Credited cast:
Patea Maori Club Patea Maori Club ... Themselves
Ngoi Pewhairangi Ngoi Pewhairangi ... Self (archive footage)
Maaka Pohatu ... Dalvanius Prime
Dalvanius Prime Dalvanius Prime ... Self (archive footage)
Jools Topp Jools Topp ... Self
Lynda Topp Lynda Topp ... Self
Taika Waititi ... Self
Stan Walker ... Self


The story of musician Dalvanius Prime and the origin of the song "Poi E", a ground-breaking fusion o 1980s pop and traditional Maori music. "Poi E", composed by Dalvanius and Ngoingoi Pewhairangi and performed by the Patea Maori Club, remains the only song in Te Reo Maori to reach No 1 in the charts, over 30 years since its 1984 release. Written by Mitchell Potts

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User Reviews

Superb - 11/10 if I could. Would pay to watch again.
15 January 2018 | by rolandtuckSee all my reviews

This movie is about a larger than life character, Dalvanius Prime, who after a successful soul music career in the USA, returned to his home town of Patea, a small town in South Taranaki, in the North Island of New Zealand.

Not long after he returned, the major employer, which was a freezing works - for those not of New Zealand, an abbotoir/slaughterhouse - closed, economically devastating the town.

This I part I already knew from the media, and I well remember Poi-E being released in the early 1980s and it's impact on the NZ psyche.

What I didn't know, was how this story really unfolded - this is where this movie comes in. I found it to be absolutely one of the most engaging and enjoyable movies I have seen in a long while.

It was touching, funny, inspiring, haunting, and a joy to watch. So many unique characters who all made this song the NZ cultural icon it became.

After watching this, I would argue that this song was the catalyst that sparked a renaissance of the Maori language here in New Zealand, leading to the establishment of the Maori Language Commission in 1987.

As I understand it at the time, Maori was a dying language. That is because the Maori youth of that time had been actively discouraged from learning it - this is reflected in Maori language speakers today, fluent speakers are either int he 70's or 80's, or in the 20's & 30's, with a 30-40 year gap of those who didn't speak it.

Watch this movie about a great song that was revolutionary in its time, and it saved a language and a culture.

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Official Sites:

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New Zealand


English | Maori

Release Date:

July 2016 (New Zealand) See more »

Also Known As:

POI E: The Story of a Song See more »


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