This Way of Life
Against the stunning beauty of New Zealand's rugged Ruahine Mountains, Peter Karena and his wife Colleen raise their six children on the thin edge between freedom and disaster. As Peter hunts, trains wild horses and struggles to instill in his kids the values of independence, courage and happiness (not to mention good hair), his escalating struggle with his own father has profound consequences on the entire Karena clan. Filmed over the course of four years, cinematographer Tom Burstyn's rigorously beautiful documentary captures the Karena's precipitous existence with equal parts glorious abandon and painful suspense. Trying to carve out a different type of life for himself, Peter often seems like a man out of step with this century, he can tame a wild horse, or field dress a deer, but he can't find a home for his family. As Peter and Colleen set up a series of makeshift camps, their brood of fearless kids rides bareback across the wild New Zealand landscape. Tragedy does not spare the Karena family - a near-disaster on a mountain trek, the loss of their home or scenes of small children getting bucked off galloping horses drive home the point that a certain level of risk, once taken for granted, now seems like it belongs to another century entirely. But ultimately, this complete immersion in another way of life reveals that the price of freedom is something that is well worth paying.
Starring Colleen Ottley-Karena, Peter Ottley-Karena
Director Thomas Burstyn