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Emotional family saga
Mail Newspapers has two copies of the DVD to
be won. To enter, write your name, address and
daytime contact number to ''This Way of Life''
competition, PO Box 222, Napier. Alternatively,
email your entry to email@example.com with
''This Way of Life'' in the subject line. Entries will
be drawn at noon on Wednesday, July 6. Winners
will be notified.
This Way of Life is an intimate portrait of the
Karena family. In their early 30s, Peter and
Colleen have six kids and 50 horses. We
follow them up into the Ruahine Ranges and
down to their hidden beach camp. Against
these isolated backdrops we explore family
relationships, their connection to nature, their
keen survival skills and their absolute intimacy
with each other and their horses, never losing
sight of the magic in the everyday. Uniting their
philosophy with their circumstances, the
Karenas turn hardship into a meaningful and
thiswayoflife.com Also on Facebook.
Our life: Peter Karena with his son Lewellyn Ottley-Karena, during filming in the Ruahine Ranges.
Film documents amazing life of Karenas
By CLAIRE HAMLIN
In a small Hawke's Bay village there was a family
with a well-defined philosophy of life.
With their six children and 50 horses, Peter and
Colleen Karena were leading a simple existence
close to the environment and raising their chil-
dren with wholeness of heart, never dreaming
that within a few short years they would be known
worldwide as the focus of a documentary called
This Way of Life.
Made by Hawke's Bay film-makers Tom and
Sumner Burstyn, the documentary followed the
family for four years, recording their remarkable
life through ups and downs, joys and sorrows --
and the world has taken them to heart.
Shortlisted for an Oscar and winner of numer-
ous awards, the documentary has brought a slice
of New Zealand into the homes of people who may
have never heard of Hawke's Bay before.
We were neighbours and would often see Peter
riding his horses along the roadside, often with a
child clinging on behind, and after meeting him,
discovered there was a beautiful wife and wonder-
ful children, who were all very articulate, with a
clearly expressed and well-defined philosophy of
how to live,'' Sumner says.
As film-makers that was very attractive to us.
We spent four years with them, on and off, never
fulltime but always a part of our lives.''
The Burstyns were aware very quickly that they
were making a successful film, as the material
they were recording was pretty amazing''.
The Karenas, however, seemed oblivious to the
fact that their lives were unusual in any way, so
Tom and Sumner were careful not to expose them
to anything unnecessary, and the family were very
open with them because of the strong relationship
they had formed.
It's the hopefulness they have that I think
people relate to,'' says Sumner.
On one hand the film has changed their lives,
yet in another it hasn't.
They were private people before and they are
Because it's not a feature film the family is not
up for public consumption and it may be difficult
for people to understand that they are not public
For Sumner, the most exciting moment in the
journey came at the Berlin Film Festival, where
This Way of Life was shown to an audience of 1000
people and received a standing ovation.
We were trying to take a small story, about one
family, and make it universal, and we managed to
do that,'' she says.
After the screening, a Berlin housewife wear-
ing pearls and diamonds and a fur coat came up
to Colleen with tears streaming down her face and
said to her you've told
So here's this young
Maori woman from the
East Coast and a
wealthy Berlin matron,
able to relate on a most
human and personal
level -- I thought that
was the biggest success
that we have had with
This Way of Life is
now available on DVD
through the Burstyns'
company, Cloud South
Films, through this-
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