Movie about Tongan philosopher Futa Helu screening in Auckland

A documentary, “Tongan Ark”, about the Tongan philosopher Futa Helu will be screening at Mangere Arts Centre in Auckland on Saturday.

Futa Helu, who died aged 75 in February 2010, was a Tongan philosopher.

He studied philosophy, literature and mathematics in Sydney in the 1950s. His particular inspiration was the pre-Socratic thinker Heraclitus.

When he returned to Tonga Futa Helu established what was initially a night school for struggling students.

Slowly it morphed into a high school and then a university, the only such institution in the Pacific that is aligned to neither a church nor a government.

It came to the attention of Auckland film-maker Paul Janman when he was studying social anthropology at the University of Auckland and excited his interest sufficiently for him to devote 2004 and 2005 to teaching literature there.

Gradually he gained Helu’s confidence, was given access to Atenisi’s archives and entrusted with telling its story. The result is a fascinating and multi-layered portrait of a man in whose aspirations are embodied many of the challenges of development in the Pacific.

Tongan Ark will also be screening at the Auckland Art Gallery and in Christchurch and Wellington. see screening times


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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