National | Film

Renowned navigator remembered in film

He built over 50 waka, sailed more than 30,000 miles and revitalised traditional ocean voyages by Māori.

Now the world premiere of a film about Hekenukumai Busby is on show at the NZ International Film Festival in Wellington and is proving to be a hit with audiences.

A master navigator, a tohunga, and now a film director, Toby Mills says, "He was just a man at the end of the day. A man with an amazing drive, amazing talent" He described Sir Hector Busby's esoteric knowledge as "really really deep".

Whetū Mārama: Bright Star tracks the story of how Hector Busby connected the Pacific through the revitalisation of mātauranga Māori. this movie is 15 years in the making, and its relevance to this director is both national and personal.

He described their friendship as a warm one. The filmmaker and the wayfinder found a way to share their love for mātauranga in a masterpiece of stunning visuals, inspiring kōrero,heartstring-pulling moments, and all balanced perfectly with a few hearty laughs. An honest piece of magic that captures the audience, a man with a heart for people and the see.

Mills says, "By meeting him I got to know more about myself, who I am, where I'm from and how I can contribute to Māori society."

Busby was a bridge builder literally and figuratively. The way in which he pulled people together was a key feature of the film.

The film is showing in Wellington and will make its way to Te Wai Pounamu.