Sima Urale | Samoa/New Zealand b.1968 | O Tamaiti (still) 1996 | 35mm film and Betacam SP: 15 minutes, black and white, stereo | Purchased 2004. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
O Tamaiti 1996
Sima Urale's film O Tamaiti 1996 portrays difficulties experienced by Polynesian people migrating to Aotearoa New Zealand. Through an exploration of her own Samoan culture, Urale addresses issues of financial hardship as well as problems associated with living between cultures.
Translating as 'the children' in the Samoan language, O Tamaiti conveys the common experience where children do the adults' work with none of the accompanying advantages.
The film's narrative begins with a new birth in the family and ends with a death. It follows the children's daily routines, punctuated with instances of anxiety, but also jovial sibling familiarity.
Filmed from the children's point of view, where the parents are heard but rarely seen, eleven-year-old Tino looks after his brothers and sister, doing many of the chores his parents are unable to do as they move in and out of shift work and other obligations.
In addition to its compelling narrative, the work's velvety cinematic quality and minimal sound have ensured that this poignant film receives attention in both its home country and internationally.