Moving Images Distribution is located on the traditional, ancestral, unceded and occupied territory of the Coast Salish peoples - xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations - commonly known as Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Our roots lie within the independent film and video community. During the 1970s, a group of talented filmmakers began developing ways to increase the profile of their work. Their vision resulted in the formation of Canadian Filmmakers Distribution West which changed its name to Moving Images Distribution in 1994. Since our beginnings in 1979, we've worked to connect audiences with innovative works by some of Canada's internationally acclaimed media artists working in experimental, documentary, animation, short fiction and personal narrative.
“Water Is Taonga: Water As Taonga?” SAMAQAN Season 4 Episode 40
Marianne Jones and Jeff Bear travel from Canada's west coast to New Zealand where they meet with Maori leaders. The Maori explain the sacred relationship they have with water. Their migration to New Zealand in the 13th century predated that of settlers, or "infinite others" as the Maori call them, by 500 years. In New Zealand's founding document, the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, the Maori were granted rights for control of land, water and self-determination. Even so, many of these rights have not been respected. As is often the case, the problem is with language, as two ancient legal systems talk past each other. It is only through legal arguments based on water as ‘taonga’, a precious cultural treasure, that the Maori have had success in the courts. The documentary describes their ongoing battle to enforce treaty rights granted in 1840. As a footnote, on March 15, 2017, the Maori of the North Island in New Zealand achieved a world first victory in the courts after a 140-year legal battle. The New Zealand Government granted the Whanganui River (known as Te Awa Tupua to the local Maori people and the third largest river in New Zealand) the legal status of a person. It marked a settlement for the longest litigation in New Zealand's history, which began with the signing of the violated Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. It gives the River the power to represent its own interests and advocate on its own behalf. It will be represented by two nominees: one appointed by the Maori community, or Iwi, and one appointed by the government.
This fourth and final series of “SAMAQAN” examines the role of water in culture and spirituality of Indigenous people, their focus on stewardship and the efforts mounted to balance respect for the environment with development.
Directed by: Marianne Jones, Jeff Bear
Produced by: Marianne Jones, Kristy Assu, Jeff Bear