The New Oceania

Albert Wendt

Director Shirley Horrocks

Producer Shirley Horrocks

Cinematography Leon Narbey

Featured Albert Wendt

“Samoan-born Albert Wendt is a leading South Pacific novelist, poet and dramatist. This documentary profile was filmed in Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Hawai'i (when Wendt occupied the Citizens Chair at the University of Hawai'i). He has also been a tireless teacher of creative writing, anthologist and champion of indigenous work across the Pacific. Made by one of New Zealand's leading documentary teams (including cinematographer Leon Narbey), the film draws its title from Wendt's essay, The New Oceania, an early manifesto that encouraged all Pacific cultures to embrace change and accept the need for dissent: 'Without it our cultures will drown in self-love.' Tracing Wendt's life and career - with vivid dramatisations of his work - the documentary doubles as a history of cultural renewal in the Pacific. In particular, it celebrates the explosion of creative activity by Pacific artists in New Zealand - writers, painters, dancers, rappers, and fashion designers. They look to Wendt as a forerunner and role model. Travelling to Samoa, Fiji and Hawai'i with Wendt, talking to family and colleagues, and drawing on the rich archival heritage of filmed adaptations and earlier interviews, Horrocks delivers a rounded and engaging portrait of a charismatic, intellectual Pacific man who continues to make a very real difference.” —; 06/07/2006