Ngā Wai e Rua: Stories of Us

'Ngā Wai e Rua: Stories of Us' is a compilation of some unique stories of Aotearoa New Zealand dating back to the early 1900s. Tuia Mātauranga themes are presented through audiovisual treasures cared for by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

Watch the film

The film covers events from the early 1900s through to 2010. Topics range from important national events to everyday happenings. All add to the story of who we are as a nation, and where we’ve come from.

Note that the footage and commentary in the film reflect the time in which they were made. We recommend that you watch with this in mind, and use the reflection questions and activities below.

Download flyer (pdf, 1.2MB)

Read Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision's programme notes — for more information about the clips shown in the film and their historical context.

Reflection questions and activities

Reflection questions

  • Who was behind the lens?
  • How does the filmmaker influence the stories they tell?
  • What motivates the filmmaker?
  • How are New Zealanders portrayed in this footage?
  • How do we perceive this footage today?
  • What stories and people were less likely to be filmed?

What do I see?

Mute the film and commentate what you see in a part of the footage. Now listen to the commentary with the film compilation.

  • Is it the original or has it been added for the compilation?
  • What clues tell you when the commentary was added?

Research the event and what was happening at the time in New Zealand. Adjust your commentary to fit the times.

From the commentary, what can you tell about New Zealand then, and now?

A view across generations

Using the film compilation ask:

  • What has my grandfather/grandmother seen in their lifetime?
  • What has my mother/father seen in their lifetime?
  • What have I seen in my lifetime?
  • What do I want my children to see in the future?

How do I feel?

What part of the footage makes you sad, happy, nostalgic, grateful, angry, envious, proud, and ashamed? Why?

What action can you take to make the most of what your emotions are telling you?

What can I do?

  • What event do you wish you could be part of?
  • What things do you need to consider for the event to happen, for people to enjoy themselves, for people to be safe?
  • What would you want people to experience? Talk with others to see if this is achievable (take your planning with you).

Join the dots

  1. Investigate a clip within the footage and follow the changes from the clip to the present.
  2. Hone in on the detail and zoom out for a wider look at the content of the clip.
  3. Think about the event.
  4. Track the changes that link this old footage to the same or similar modern day event.
  5. Listen to the language.
  6. Look at the setting: the machinery, the clothing, the buildings, the infrastructure, the place in Aotearoa.
  7. Track the changes from that time to the present.
  8. Analyse the changes.
  9. Find reasons for the changes.
  10. What influences have contributed to the changes?
  11. Talk about this with different people through generations.
  12. Is there something that we can learn from the past?

Show your gratitude

After watching the footage, choose someone in the films that you would like to thank. They may have influenced the development of our nation in a way that has
impacted on your life.

Compose a letter of gratitude to that person. Explain how you feel and what they did to make you feel that way.

The footage might make you think of a person in your life now or in the past who has influenced you. Write to them and let them know.

Make a promise

Write a message to your future self or your descendants yet to be born.

Tell them what you are prepared to do, or have done, to have the best Aotearoa New Zealand for them:

  • in 2040 (200 years from the signing of the Treaty), or
  • 2100 (the turn of this century).

About Ngā Wai e Rua — Stories of Us

The unique stories shown come from audiovisual treasures cared for by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Ngā Wai e Rua: Stories of Us was compiled through a partnership between the Ministry of Education and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision for the Tuia250 national commemoration.