Recently the movie “Poi E: The Story of Our Song” was released as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival, and the song Poi-E has become popular again. I thought you might be interested in an untold story relating to Dalvanius and Poi-E.
Working With Dalvanius Prime
In the 1990s I was living in Hawera, Taranaki and along with my business partner Daniel Crothers, worked intensively with Dalvanius Prime on his dream project – an animated 3D feature film based on Poi-E called “Poi-E: The Myths and Legends”.
We developed the script, conceptual art and very rough animations to be pitched for funding to develop the film.
The movie version of the Poi-E story was set in the future, where the Maori legends Poi and Pania battled evil in Taranaki – riding Moa, traveling in flying waka, and wielding taiaha that fired laser beams. Dalvanius imagined the leader of the tuatara people (the bad guys in the story) as a giant lizard creature, atop his jade pyramid, twirling a cane and dancing to Split Enz: I See Red!
Changing Our Names To Get Funding
Dalvanius was quite the wheeler-dealer and tried to obtain Maori funding for the project, but this required his whole team of animators to be Maori.. so he had myself (not Maori at all) and Daniel (part Maori) appear in front of a Justice of the Peace and be assigned Maori names! Lucas Young became Ruka Tamaiti and Daniel Crothers became Taneata Karere.
This ruse fell apart a little when Ian Taylor, from Animation Research, called our cottage asking for Ruka and telling me “us Maoris must stick together” and then asking me what tribe I was from – I had no idea what to say!
We have fond memories of Dalvanius turning up in a car he claimed he was given by “hori affairs” with an armful of little dogs and drinking huge jugs of water as we worked on the script and designs together.
Poi-E: The Myths and Legends Website and Promo Animation
We set up a website for Dalvanius pitching the project, and I resurrected this for you to look at. Please note it was built in the 90s and is very old and low-res! http://www.digitalus.co.nz/poi/
I also uploaded a copy of the promo animation we developed. Again, very old and rough:
Press Release: Poi-E The Myths and Legends on Film
This was the press release from The Hawera Star, December 18, 1997
ENTERTAINER Dalvanius Prime has a new project – a computer animated film series Poi-E The Myths and Legends – to be developed in conjunction with local computer specialist Lucas Young, and graphics expert Daniel Crothers.
Poi-E is set in a nether world that combines both the past and future of Aotearoa (New Zealand).
It is a misty and mythical place where high technology and ancient culture combine. The story is set under the shadow of Mount Taranaki, brooding and unpredictable, spewing lava and boiling mud.
The heroes are the Ngarauru, led by Poi, their prince and Pania their princess.
Under the watchful eye of the Tekoteko (oracle statue) they live, keeping vigil against the raids of their enemies, the Tuatara Men.
The tribe ride domesticated Moa and use high-tech Taiaha as weapons of war.
“The series is a brilliant concept, and a positive message for kids.” Lucas Young says.
Dalvanius would like it to be a totally Taranaki production, made in Taranaki, with plenty of local input, using local artists and local talent.
” Everyone’s buzzing with it, and a number of New Zealand film animation and special effects companies have phoned, expressing interest, wanting to become involved, or begging for the rights to do the film.” Lucas says.
More information from the Web page address http://www.digitalus.co.nz/poi/