Born in London but raised in New Zealand, the half-Welsh Paul Janman is an Auckland writer and filmmaker. Early studies in history and philosophy and an interest in Buddhism and martial arts caused him years in Europe and Asia. Back in NZ, he entered into anthropology and street theatre before becoming bemused and inspired by Herakleitos and Andersonian Realism. After two years under ‘I. Futa Helu at ‘Atenisi Institute in Tonga, he made the film Tongan Ark – a series of paradoxes and an interventionist model of documentary-making that has both elated and disturbed audiences around the world.
- "In Futa’s words: ‘Many have brought a branch of the tree of knowledge back to Tonga but I uprooted that tree and I planted it in Tonga’."
- "Unity as disturbance In a world of awful global sameness, where fragmentation has been elevated to the level of aesthetic virtue, a reactionary draconian order weighs in to balance it with an excess of legalism, decorum and nostalgic form."
- "In the best sense, Futa was a paradox."
- "Philosophical realism comes easily when you are surrounded by pigs and the daily work of subsistence cropping."
- "‘Atenisi has remained at the vanguard of Tongan education for more than 45 years."
- "The conservative ‘Atenisi avant-garde thus exposes the anxieties and the ironies of contemporary cultural politics as well as problematic discourses around freedom and innovation."
- "It was only in this way that he managed to survive the reactionary onslaught of the Tongan government and society to ideas that were in fact very subversive."
- "At ‘Atenisi there is time for everything—time to think, time to sleep and time to make mistakes."
- "As he says in one of the more controversial parts of our film: ‘There are no taboo fields."
- "Almost by default, ‘Atenisi Institute has always preferred the way of life of the dreamy intellectual, at the expense of bureaucratic efficiency."