Movie premiere: The HeART of the Matter
Updated by Becky Hare

You're invited to a very special event. Join us at uLearn17 for a Night at the Movies, Wednesday 11 October 7.30-9.30pm

The HeART of the Matter looks at major changes in New Zealand teaching which began after World War ll. A group of bureaucrats and arts specialists set about introducing a "thoroughly bicultural and arts-centred education system" to schools — in contrast to the rote learning of the past. Combining interviews and archival footage, Luit and Jan Bieringa (The Man in the Hat) examine this period of radical educational reform, and ask what lessons can be applied to the present. In the excerpts above, pupils and teachers reminisce about their time in the classroom.

Introduced by Director Luit Bierenger, attending in person.

The HeART of the Matter

Titiro whakamuri, kia anga tika mua ai te haere.

Referencing the past, helps prepare you for the future.


Pupils with Gordon Tovey Under the leadership of a legendary director general of education, Clarence Beeby, the years immediately after WWII saw the most remarkable shifts in educational philosophy New Zealand has ever experienced.

Luit Beringer's documentary tracks those changes and the army of men and women who worked to establish a thoroughly bicultural and arts-centred education system. Gordon Tovey, national supervisor of arts and crafts, and hi steam of artists and art specialists fostered the lively and colourful classrooms that New Zealand is familiar with today, in stark contrast to the rote learning environments preceding them. Contributing art specialists ensured that aspects of Māori art such as kōwhaiwhai, kapa haka and waiata had a central place in our mainstream classrooms through in-depth consultation with Ngāti Porou kaumātua Pine Taiapa.

Ngataki playground ’54

Replete with archival interviews and little seen footage, this film is likely to transport any Kiwi-educated boomer back to school, but its richly storied excavation of the past is clearly pointed towards the future as once were its public-servant heroes.

  • Director: Luit Bieringer
  • Producer: Jan Bieringer
  • Running time: 89 minutes
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