One Land

The Smith family were awesome.  They seemed to embrace the whole experiment whole heartedly.  Considering the fact that I don’t know a great deal about pa tikanga, the Ririnui family seemed to thrive in their environment.  I’m not sure if the Dalrymple family were purposefully portrayed as being whiners, but initially they came of as being such.  They did however show a great deal of resilience toward the end of the experiment, which was great.  In regards to the pa disagreement, I don’t particularly agree with tapping any child on any part of their body or talking to children in a way that would be different to how I would expect people to treat my own.  However if that situation did occur I would probably take it through the courts.  In light of the context in which it occurred though, with the stresses incurred due to the experiment it would be hard to say how I would react whether right or wrong.  I just don’t agree with touching other people in any sense.  Toward the end of the experiment the Dalrymple girls seemed to really come in to their own which was great.  The father of the Dalrymple family seemed to be a proud person who just seemed to be used to his own space and way of interacting with his family.  Although he believed that he had made amends, possibly he did not do it as he believed he had.  Overall the series was interesting. 

7:30pm Sunday, January 10 on TV One

For Aramhou and Toni Ririnui the opportunity to live on an 1850s Maori Pa, for TV ONE’s local series One Land, was a dream come true (tonight at 7.30pm on TV ONE). Both Maori language teachers, they’re passionate about teaching their own children te reo Maori and retracing the footsteps of their ancestors.

However, despite being enthusiastic and optimistic about the challenge, Toni was worried about coping without all the luxuries of modern life.

“I’m a hearty fish and chips girl, it’s the love of my life” she laughs. “And the mirror and all that goes with it – hair straighteners, mascara, shampoo – not to mention my car.”

Toni and Aramahou live in Tauranga with their four children, Tuhawaiki, Ngawaka, Hemorere and Te Hapirangi. They are also joined on the Pa by Aramahou’s son Rerehou and Toni’s niece Te Ao Marama.

All of the Ririnui children are able to converse in te reo Maori, and for the the duration of their stay on the Pa, the entire family will speak only te reo.

Tonight on One Land, the Smith boys work on a home brew for a stag night celebration for Aramahou Ririnui, while the Dalrymples add the finishing touches to their new home. For the Dalrymples, life in the 1850s has started again, as they adapt to life off the Pa, and discover a new unity in their isolation.

Meanwhile, Toni and Aramahou are busy planning a traditional 1850s wedding, and have invited all their friends and family to go back to the 1850s as guests. For Toni, having a wedding as her Maori ancestors would have done is something she views as hugely important: “This wedding is really special to me because Aramahou and I will return to certain traditions of old, relating to marriage.”

Despite the rift between the two families, Toni and Aramahou invite the Dalrymples to the wedding ceremony – but the memory of the confrontation between the two men is still raw.

“I really want for the family to come, even though we had a run in, maybe it’s time to settle things. I don’t really want the dramas to carry on. It all needs to be settled so we can move forward in this experience,” says Toni.

There’s also a hint of romance in the air as the Smith boys invite the Dalrymple girls to accompany them to the wedding. But will the Dalrymples bury the hatchet, and join the celebrations?

Sigh Sunday’s series was absolutely atrocious. It is clear the rebellious girl is only interested in manipulating her family.  Why? Because there are boys in the pioneer’s homes. It is really disgusting when you bring 20th century logic into a 1850’s environment. As a Maori I was equally appaulled that the kaupapa of the marae was not first established. Kaupapa or rules are always first established.

For both sexism before any work of the Pa is done. To see a lack in the Rangatira is soo atrocious. You spout you respect tikanga and don’t even know the very heart of aroha maori.

I applaud the full immersion of reo (language) but where is the tohunga to translate to those who do not understand our ways or kaupapa?  Translating is always acceptable and even in the 1850’s it was done.

Sigh this program only reflects the lack of cultural understanding. It is even ridiculious as a social experiment as all the important factors are not there. Why was the moari family a part of the pioneer families as well? It would be really amazing to see the clashes that would result. The concept is totally unfair.

The families are soo uneducated. There is more to a culture than trying to build authenticity. Without heart it is all meaningless.

7:30pm Sunday, December 27 on TV One

It was a milestone birthday that prompted Christchurch midwife Tarnia Smith to apply for a role on TV ONE’s local series One Land (tonight at 7.30pm). The busy, independent midwife says she wanted to prove she wasn’t over the hill.

“It was that whole turning 40 thing. I was looking for a challenge, something to push me out of my comfort zone.”

Living in an 1850s settler house for six weeks is most definitely out of Tarnia’s comfort zone, who is a self-confessed “Maggi packet soup girl”, who doesn’t like to cook, and hates having to pick up after her family who, “drop their belongings all over the house, thinking I’m the cleaner”.

Tarnia and her husband Lindsay live in Christchurch with their four children Marshall, Matthew, Nadia and Conrad. Lindsay runs his own house removal business; eldest son Marshall and younger brother Matthew own their own labouring business; daughter Nadia, can’t live without her mobile phone, makeup and Hannah Montana; and youngest child Conrad is headstrong and outspoken.

The whole family agree they wanted to take on the challenge of living in the 1850s for Tarnia. However, nothing prepared them for what was to come or the hardship they would face living as a settler family in the 1850s – in particular the struggle to find enough food to sustain them. Tarnia says it’s hard to stay positive when there’s no food on the table.

On tonight’s episode of One Land, the Smith family have been struggling to find enough food to eat, but a series of events sees a change in the family’s fortune. Tarnia gets a welcome respite from their harsh new life in the 1850s and regains her strength by going to church; and an unexpected celebration brings a surprise.

Meanwhile, the Smith boys and their dad find their luck is changing, when they catch a huge haul of snapper. They decide to share their bounty with the families on the Pa, but find their gift is not welcomed by everyone.

On the Pa things are starting to fall apart – cultural issues start to flare, with Jess Dalrymple getting upset at not being listened to, and the Ririnui family’s angry that the Dalrymples are not respectful of Maori protocol. Just when things are starting to get out of control, a romantic proposal throws a spanner in the works, taking all three families by surprise.

One Land brings New Zealand history to life – with commentary from historian Lyndon Fraser, and Tikanga expert Amster Reedy – as each family struggles to adapt to living at a time when survival was difficult, and two different cultures struggled to understand each other.

It’s been a while since I sat down on a Sunday night to watch anything produced by Julie Christie.  The usual cast of same-faced celebrities were nowhere to be seen, as was the end of episode elimination.  No, tonight’s season premiere of One Land had real, everyday people, thrust into an environment that wasn’t just entertaining, it was educational.

If you ever wondered what it was really like for both Maori and settlers in the 1800’s as the two cultures came together then One Land may provide a glimpse into how it was.

Three families make up the cast of the show which depicts life in the 1800’s for both Maori and European settlers.  The Smiths, a European family from Christchurch who have had very little contact with Maori take on the role of the settlers while the Dalrymples from Gisborne are a non-te reo speaking family who join the Ririnui’s, who exclusively speak te reo, on the Pa.

The three families are all quite different.  One has had very little contact with Maori culture, one is fully immersed in it and the other are so detached from their Maori heritage that they actually applied for the European family role.

The two Maori families have their own challenges as one learns, lives and discovers their culture while the settler family discovers just how hard life was and how reliant on Maori they will be in order to survive.

As well as watching the journey of these three families, historical footage and commentary is interweaved throughout by Amster Reedy and Dr Lyndon Fraser to give the show somewhat of a documentary feel.

Bringing two cultures together in a way that is as much of a re-enactment as it is a challenge is brilliant.  I can only imagine just how incredible this experience must have been for all the families involved.

This could very well be the best reality series Julie Christie has put her hands to.

If you’ve missed it, check it out here.

7:30pm Sunday, December 13 on TV One

What would happen if you travelled back in time, to live in New Zealand in the 1850s? A time when Maori and European ancestors lived side by side, without electricity, TV or even running water?

TV ONE’s new local series One Land takes three Kiwi families back in time to 1850s New Zealand, in a cultural and social experiment to see how modern families cope with the struggles of daily life, and survive without the comforts of modern society (tonight at 7.30pm). The three families live off the land for six weeks – two families of Maori ancestry live on a traditional Maori Pa, and the third Pakeha family live nearby, as they would have done as European settlers in the 1850s.

On the Pa live the Ririnui family, who are deeply immersed in their culture and will only speak te Reo Maori, and the Dalrymples, who know very little of their Maori heritage. The third family, the Smiths, will live as early settlers alongside the Pa, arriving by tall ship to their new life, as their forebears did more than 160 years ago.

One Land brings New Zealand history to life – with commentary from historian Lyndon Fraser, and Tikanga expert Amster Reedy – as each family struggles to adapt to living at a time when survival was very difficult, and two different cultures struggled to understand each other.

While the three families rediscover the importance of teamwork and the family unit or whanau, viewers will see the difficulties and frustrations of a life without supermarkets, running water, and the basics of modern day life.

Executive producer, Bailey Mackey, says One Land gives viewers an opportunity to see where Kiwis come from as New Zealanders, and ultimately where they are headed. He says Maori language is integral to the show, as it was very much alive in the 1850s.

“The language element added a huge amount of pressure to life on the Pa. It was very difficult in particular for the Dalrymple family and their journey with the culture. Initially they started out quite wide-eyed and very open to the experience, but the language proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” says Mackey.

“The series can be related to a waka journey, there’s some smooth sailing, and there’s some rough water. And along the way, there’s plenty of action, big emotions and plenty of conflict.”

One Land producer Greg Heathcote says the sheer scale and ambition of the project – to try and recreate not only an 1850s colonial home, but an 1850s Maori Pa, and attempt to be accurate – was a major undertaking.

“Costumes, corsets, modes of transport, the kind of food they ate, even down to the tiniest implements like axes and cutlery, the amount of research was astronomical.

“What surprised me the most was the way the families reacted. They pretty much reverted to type. They struggled in all the areas the pioneers struggled in, some people stepped up, some people had a hard time. It was surprising, but looking back perhaps it shouldn’t have been. All the problems they had were the problems people faced in the 1850s.”