From Street to Sky: Tigilau Ness

Maori Television unveils a striking and pivotal portrait of the life of one of New Zealand’s musical crusaders, Tigilau Ness, with the screening of FROM STREET TO SKY in the Zealand Documentary slot, Pakipumeka Aotearoa, on Wednesday August 22 at 8pm.

The one-hour film is a personal account of four decades of protest and how a humble man of Nuiean descent has helped shape the relationship between Maori and peoples of the Pacific – not only through his music but also through his physical actions on the ‘street’.

As a 20-year-old, Tigilau joined the Polynesian Panthers and formed a unique relationship with Nga Tama Toa, allowing him to take a stand on both Pacific Island and Maori civil liberty issues with marches and protests. He was even prepared to sit in front of the Waitangi flag pole with a “car full of dynamite” contemplating its destruction!

FROM STREET TO SKY explores the relationship of his music with that of protest – very few people know that he was one of four people to go to prison because of his stand against apartheid and the 1982 Springbok Tour.

It also reveals a new face to this humble character as we discover that he is the father of musician Che Fu. Their relationship has seen Tigilau through imprisonment, an attempted suicide, a life changing meeting with Bob Marley and a musical career that has always been in the shadow of his better-known son.

Now, at the age of 52 and after more than 30 years of writing music, Tigilau has achieved what many young musicians can only aspire to. He and his band Unity Pacific have had their second album ‘Into the Dread’ licensed by their record label, Moving Production, to EMI NZ Limited.

Shot over five months by Blue Bach Productions, FROM STREET TO SKY combines music, poetry and New Zealand social history to trace his long walk from radical street politics to profound roots reggae destined for the sky.

This story about a man who saw the social wrongs that were happening around him and used his ‘god-given’ talent to help everyone understand what they were – as he saw them – screens in Maori Television’s New Zealand Documentary slot, Pakipumeka Aotearoa, on Wednesday August 22 at 8.00 PM.

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