Vincent Ward weaves drama with documentary to unravel the extraordinary story of Puhi, the Tuhoe woman who welcomed the young filmmaker into her home in 1978 when Ward made the observational film_ In Spring One Plants Alone_.
Using his relationship with Puhi as the framework to explore her life, he finds a woman at the age of 12, was chosen by the great Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana to marry his son, Whatu. Rua gave her the name, Puhi (“special one”). At 14, she had her first baby while hiding in the bush, having escaped from the 1916 police raid on Rua’s community at Maungapohatu, where she witnessed the arrest of Rua and Whatu and the killing of Toko, Rua’s other son, said to be her lover.
The tragedies she lived through were so powerful that some, including her, believed she was cursed..This is Ward’s search for the truth of a woman who has remained a touchstone for him throughout his life.