People, culture, and the environment — these are the elements most valued by Ngāi Tūhoe, a Maori tribe in New Zealand. With understated grit and subtlety, Ever the Land lushly documents the tribe’s landmark construction of a sustainable “Living Building” called Te Kura Whare. The film documents the project all the way through, from design and construction to its completion. More importantly, it is an intimate look at life in the T_hoe community as well as its troubled history of colonization. As Te Kura Whare was under construction, T_hoe sought a formal apology and settlement from the New Zealand government for the devastating consequences of having their lands taken away.
As the dark past is confronted, the tribe manages to preserve and persevere through its storytelling and architecture.