Set against the backdrop of the stunning Tūhoe native bush, writer and director Tearepa Kahi (Poi E: The Story of Our Song NZIFF 2016, Herbs: Songs of Freedom NZIFF 2019, Mt Zion) plunges us into one of the most charged episodes of Aotearoa’s history: the Tūhoe raids of 15 Oct 2007.
True to Kahi’s masterful commitment to centering Indigenous narratives, the film’s heartbeat is held by the locals.
Against a backdrop of whānau and whenua, the police armed offenders squad descends on the sleepy town of Rūātoki — on a school day. Invoking New Zealand’s new anti-terrorism laws, the manhunt begins for Tūhoe activist, Tame Iti (who plays himself), the alleged mastermind behind a potential political uprising and ringleader of military-style training camps in Te Urewera.
Muru is a clear reminder: there will always be taniwha. Some will have eight legs and two heads. Others will be harder to spot. But there will always be those who are ready to fight the taniwha to create greater understanding for the future of Aotearoa.