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Wed 16 Jul 2014, 7:00pm–9:00pm
Thu 17 Jul 2014, 7:00pm–9:00pm
Fri 18 Jul 2014, 7:00pm–9:00pm
Sat 19 Jul 2014, 4:30pm–6:30pm
Sat 19 Jul 2014, 7:00pm–7:00pm

Where: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision, National Library Building, 70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Public: $8.00
  • Concession: $6.00
  • Additional fees may apply

A feature length documentary dealing with the stewardship of plant genetic resources. Who is responsible for crops genetic resources, the basis of the world’s food supplies?

“Our film invites you on a journey that has involved us for 5 years, taking us to a dozen countries. It’s a journey about seeds. About the seeds we plant to grow crops like beans, maize and wheat. Where do these seeds come from? Who controls them? We didn’t get all the answers, but one thing is certain. Whatever is one’s discipline or politics, we all depend on seeds for life.”

For seven years starting in the late 1970s, renowned Maori filmmaker Barry Barclay travelled the world to explore the complex issues of land stewardship and the exploitation of food resources by the developed world. From Peru and Nicaragua to The Netherlands and France, Barclay documents a world where complex geo-political realities and the genetic manipulation of plants have immediate and disturbing effects on the poor (and usually Indigenous) farmers who produce much of the world’s crops. The Neglected Miracle is a riveting feature length documentary that raises still vital questions about the ethics and obligations of the world’s food supplies.

In the Māori language Matariki is both the name of the Pleiades star cluster and also of the season of its first rising in late May or early June—taken as the beginning of the new year.

Planting crops

Matariki atua ka eke mai i te rangi e roa,
E whāngainga iho ki te mata o te tau e roa e.
Divine Matariki come forth from the far-off heaven,
Bestow the first fruits of the year upon us.
The coming season’s crops were planted according to the portents read in the Matariki star cluster. If the stars were clear and bright, it was a sign that a favourable and productive season lay ahead, and planting would begin in September. If the stars appeared hazy and closely bunched together, a cold winter was in store and planting was put off until October.


Matariki has given rise to a number of sayings. ‘Matariki kāinga kore’ (homeless Matariki) refers to the star cluster’s constant travel – disappearing from the sky only once a year, when it pauses to rest in May when the moon wanes. The association of Matariki with crops has given rise to the saying: ‘Matariki ahunga nui’ (Matariki provider of plentiful food). Because it appears in the season when game had been caught and preserved, there is the saying: ‘Ka kitea a Matariki, kua maoka te hinu’ (When Matariki is seen, then game is preserved).


Ngā kai a Matariki, nāna i ao ake ki runga.
The foods of Matariki, by her scooped up.
Matariki happened at the end of harvesting, when food stores were plentiful. The variety of food which had been gathered and preserved ensured an abundant supply for feasting – Matariki was an important time for festivity. Women rejoiced, sang and danced to celebrate the change of season and new beginnings. Often kites (pākau) were flown – they were thought to get close to the stars.

Restaurants to book near The Neglected Miracle