Anna Marbrook Jim Marbrook
Dame Gaylene Preston Dr Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni
Mike McCombie Roger Lampen
NZ On Air NZ Film Commission
Ema Siope is six feet tall, has the strength of three men, and is one of the few women in the world who can captain and build traditional ocean going sailing canoes. Ema is dying. Now she must conjure up the powerful forces she harnessed in ocean voyages and use them to face a traumatic past that has strained and fractured family ties. Ema takes her family on a road trip into their past. From a wintry New Zealand wilderness where her parents – once high chiefs and landowners – became immigrant housemaids and farmworkers, to their first family home where all hopes were swamped in shame. Ema navigates her family back to their mother’s Samoan birthplace where she was schooled in the ancient ways and to her father’s ancestral island where she holds a chiefly title. With failing health Ema has one final step – Loimata. If she can free the shame that began there, there is a chance she could liberate her family forever.