The Silent one

New Zealand, 1984


A deaf mute boy, Jonasi, the Silent One, arrives as a baby floating in from the sea to an isolated, paradisical Pacific village. He is adopted and raised by a childless woman. As a pubescent boy he is separated from the villagers and the coming-of-age rituals by his silence and their prejudices. In his isolation he seeks solace in the sea, with which he has always had a special, gifted bond. He developes a special relationship with a huge white turtle. Times are bad: the superstitious villagers blame both Jonasi and the turtle who are seen as evil spirits. A struggle for leadership sweeps Jonasi to his strange destiny. Starring Telo Malese (Jonasi), Pat Evison, Anzac Wallace, Rongo Tupatea Kahu. Spectacular underwater photography by Ron and Valerie Taylor. Based on the novel by Joy Gowley.

How to watch

This work has not been digitised and is currently unavailable to view online. It may be possible for approved reseachers to view onsite at ACMI.

Learn more about accessing our collection


In ACMI's collection



David Gibson

production company

Gibson Film Productions


Yvonne MacKay



Production places
New Zealand
Production dates

Collection metadata

Please note: this archive is an ongoing body of work. Sometimes the credit information (director, year etc) isn’t available so these fields may be left blank; we are progressively filling these in with further research.

Cite this work on Wikipedia

If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url= |title=The Silent one |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=28 September 2023 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}