Filmmakers in attendance.
Driven by his deep faith in God and traditional culture, a flat-broke Tongan pensioner must navigate not only the rough streets of South Auckland, but also his tumultuous relationship with his New Zealand born son who struggles to accept his father’s commitment to a Kingdom that tore their family apart.
Directors Vea Mafile’o and Jeremiah Tauamiti profile the former’s father, Saia Mafile’o, a semi-retired Tongan migrant and preacher who continues to do odd jobs like newspaper delivery, raising pigs for slaughter, and home catering, in order to save up every year to donate to the Misnale, the annual donation to the church by the Tongan community.
Emigrating to Auckland, New Zealand in his youth, he met his European wife, Fiona while they were both teachers. While he carving out a new life here, he never really left his “homeland” behind. As we find out from his children, including his daughter-director, he would leave for long periods of time to go home and work on building his church and community back in Tonga, leaving his now ex-wife to take charge of bringing up four children. FOR MY FATHER’S KINGDOM follows the Mafile’o family as they prepare for the Misnale and reunite for a celebration in their homeland, an event that gives a window into Saia’s world from which they were distanced.
Vea Mafile’o has proven herself a courageous director, never shying away from the political and socially difficult issues of her mother kingdom. Now she brings us into her personal realm, and asks of her audience the same courage. This documentary is both an insightful, poignant character study of a man with unwavering faith in his community and culture and a critique of how this commitment came at the personal sacrifice of his own family well-being. —Micki Davis
Co-presented with Community Partners: Pacific Islanders in Film and TV
Director: Vea Mafileo, Jeremiah Tauamiti
Producer: Sandra Kailahi