Pathway To The Sea

What this documentary aims to accomplish

Summary & Key Impact Areas

Our film highlights important social, cultural, and political aspects of Indigeneity in Aotearoa New Zealand, giving voice to kaihekengaru (Māori surfers) and their roles as kaitiaki (guardians) of surf breaks and coastal environments.

  • Indigenous / Māori representation in film
  • De-colonial documentary form and ethics
  • Subverting and “indigenizing” ethnographic film ​


The following principles guide our approach in this project:

  • “Nothing about us without us”- Work closely with Māori cultural advisors and producers
  • Relational accountability- We are responsible for nurturing honorable relationships with our collaborators and are accountable to the entire communities where we work, including our collaborators’ more-than-human relations
  • Build new, lasting friendships with kaihekengaru and other collaborators involved in this film

2020 Tainui Games

As a start to the film, Te Ara Moana (Pathway to the Sea) crew met in Ragland to experience the Tainui Games, an inter-tribal family surf competition. 

About the Producers

Director Nick Reo (Ojibwe) is a surfer and Indigenous studies professor who specializes in Indigenous environmental studies. His professional + surfing network and research experience in Indigenous ethnography and other methods make him uniquely qualified to make this film. Dan LaFranier is an Indigenous photographer who runs Sundance Media (Kalispell, Montana). Mark Wilson is an audio engineer, filmmaker, former elected Tribal official.