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Last week’s showing of ‘Ever the Land’, at Lighthouse Cinema in Wellington, delivered a fantastic insight into the struggles and triumphs experienced as part of the Living Building Challenge in action here in New Zealand.

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The documentary tells the story of the Tuhoe tribe in Te Urewera and the cultural impact they had on the construction of the ‘Living Building’ – a completely sustainable community centre based in the Urewera region for the people of Tuhoe.

The shooting of the film cleverly combined the essence of Tuhoe’s cultural ties to the land with the importance of the ‘Living Building’ concept.

‘Ever the Land’ is a particularly good snapshot of Tuhoe and the wairua of that iwi. Their close spiritual connection to the land is embodied in this documentary and reflected in many of the Tuhoe members’ involvement in the building of the eco-friendly community centre.

The building itself was a clever construction which took an abstract approach to modern building discourse. The architects and suppliers had to look outside of the box to ensure they kept within the guidelines of the ‘Living Building Challenge’ requirements. This not only addressed the sustainable conditions of the project, but it also sat well with Tuhoe ideals surrounding the land as a taonga (treasure).

As a bit of a history buff I personally enjoyed the coverage of past injustices being addressed and how settlements and agreements have been made to right these wrongs. As New Zealanders we should be aware of our history and this documentary gave a good steer into that.

This film screening was hosted by Wellington TimeBank as a fundraiser. For more information on the Living Building Challenge visit

Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.