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Short summary

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.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Gosar
    Ever since 1962 I have regarded as Lawrence of Arabia as the greatest film I have ever seen, however after watching a New Zealand film "Poi E" today, I think it has now fallen to second place. I only hope that it will be released in the U.K as it epitomizes most of the things that makes to me, a "Twenty-five Pound Pom of 1962 vintage " all the things that makes New Zealand the nearest thing to Utopia that I'm ever likely to encounter in this lifetime. New Zealand has always had a reputation of "punching above it's weight" and I am sure that this film re-enforces that belief. I suspect that the statisticians will also come up with the same opinion after the present Olympic games in Rio.
  • comment
    • Author: Adrielmeena
    This has to be one of the best documentaries I have seen. The story behind the song is fascinating. Dalvanius Prime was obviously a larger than life type of character who managed to make the almost impossible happen for the small town of Patea. Those of us who were around at the time remember the impact of this song on the nation of New Zealand.

    The documentary has been made with loving care and a desire to honour those involved. It was nice touch to have Taika Waititi and Stan Walker honouring the song with their comments.

    This movie tells the story of the song and its impact in a very honest and entertaining way. Thoroughly recommend seeing this :-)
  • comment
    • Author: Delagamand
    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.
  • Credited cast:
    Patea Maori Club Patea Maori Club - Themselves
    Ngoi Pewhairangi Ngoi Pewhairangi - Herself (archive footage)
    Maaka Pohatu Maaka Pohatu - Dalvanius Prime
    Dalvanius Prime Dalvanius Prime - Himself (archive footage)
    Jools Topp Jools Topp - Herself
    Lynda Topp Lynda Topp - Herself
    Taika Waititi Taika Waititi - Himself
    Stan Walker Stan Walker - Himself
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