Tūhoe at the Venice Architecture Biennale
An acclaimed documentary about the design and construction of a unique cultural building for the Tūhoe iwi will be be screened in Venice this month at the beginning of the city’s famous Architecture Biennale.
Ever the Land tells the story of the building of Te Wharehou o Tūhoe at Tāneatua in the Ureweras, a project of huge significance for Tūhoe.
The new building, which was designed by architecture practice Jasmax to meet the stringent criteria of the international Living Building Challenge, serves as the headquarters of the Tūhoe tribal authority and meeting place for the Tūhoe people. Over a two year period Ever the Land director Sarah Grohnert was granted extensive access to Tūhoe and the building site. The film, which was produced by Alexander Behse, was made against the background of ongoing negotiations between Tūhoe and the Crown, which have resulted in a government apology for historic wrongs and a compensation settlement.
In Venice, Te Wharehou o Tūhoe will also be represented in Future Islands, the New Zealand exhibition at this year’s Architecture Biennale. This is only the second time that New Zealand has staged an official exhibition at the world’s leading architecture event, which runs from late May until the end of November. Ever the Land will be screened twice on the day of the public opening of the Biennale at the palazzo Querini Stampalia, a landmark building housing a leading Venetian cultural institution. Representatives of Tūhoe and Jasmax are travelling to Venice for the film’s screenings, as are Ever the Land’s director and producer. All will participate in discussion sessions following the screenings.
“We are thrilled that this powerful film telling the story of Te Wharehou o Tūhoe will be presented to an international audience in Venice,” said Teena Hale Pennington, the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ Chief Executive.
“The Venice Biennale is the leading forum for discussions about architecture and its place in the culture of countries,” Ms Hale Pennington said. “In this context, Ever the Land’s messages about caring for the land, respecting the environment and nurturing the community are especially resonant.”
Ms Hale Pennington said the venue for the film’s two screenings in Venice is also appropriate.
“It is a pleasure to show this film about an innovative New Zealand building at the Querini Stampalia, one of Venice’s most significant architectural sites, which was restored by Carlo Scarpa, one of Italy’s most important modern architects.”
Ever the Land will be screened at 10.30am and 3.30pm on Saturday 28 May 2016 in the auditorium of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia.