Māori honour Ben Gurion film-maker

Tai Harawira with Yariv Mozer

Doc Edge’s final screening of the film ‘Ben Gurion, Epilogue’ ended on a high note, despite an earlier series of incidents designed to shut it down.

The first two screenings saw anti-Israel protestors disrupt the viewing of the film by planting a noise-maker in Wellington and a stink bomb in Auckland. Protestors at the final showing failed to make an impact. The screening was in fact sold out. It finished on a high note as Māori paid tribute to the film’s director, Yariv Mozer, in traditional fashion with a waiata.

We asked song leader Jenny Matheson about the meaning behind this cultural expression and her views on the film.

What was the significance of singing the waiata?

I saw it as an opportunity to show Māori love and support towards Israel.

The waiata, He Honore, gives honour and glory to Israel’s God, declares peace on earth and good thoughts to all man. This song was fitting to sing as Ben Gurion spoke of the importance of peace throughout the documentary.

When there is an important event such as a graduation, a haka, karanga or waiata is sung after the presentation, which has cultural relevance in honouring the person and acknowledging their achievements. From a Māori cultural perspective, I felt it was important to honour and acknowledge the director Yariv Mozer for his achievement in putting the documentary together and bringing this film to Aotearoa.

Why did you come to see the film?

I visited the House of Independence in Tel Aviv while I was in Israel October last year and was inspired after listening to our guide share about the history of the house and the life of Ben Gurion. I began to look more into his life and those of the early pioneers back in the early 1900s to mid century. So having the opportunity to view the film was a real treat.

Why do you support Israel?

There are several reasons as to why I support Israel as a nation.

  1. Firstly, because of my faith I believe I have a responsibility and mandate to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I believe this to be a true statement, ‘to love Israel, is to love God.’

  2. Secondly, I have witnessed firsthand how mainstream and social media can manipulate the truth by presenting distorted facts and people buy into the lie. This is how Israel is often treated and misrepresented and it’s not right. Our people (Māori) particularly need to see that there are Māori who do support Israel and have good healthy working relationships with them, on a political, educational, social and spiritual level. We are all called to be speakers of truth and I am happy to be one of many Māori voices here in Aotearoa to help set the record straight.

  3. Thirdly, Israel is an innovative nation. They are key players in making the world a better place due to their advances in technology, agriculture, medicine, engineering etc. Why would anyone or any nation not want to be supportive of Israel? This I do not understand.

What did you think about the film?

I thought it predominantly depicted Ben Gurion’s life as a leader and politician. A great visionary who lived a purposeful life for the benefit of his own people (Jews) and for the embodiment of man. He was a modest man and his actions lined up with what he believed. What an amazing example first and foremost as a man and as a leader for his people Israel.