Reclaiming Māori Image

I love film and used to write about film-making as cultural representation a lot. I don’t much anymore, so I really appreciate when others write eloquently and powerfully about an art form I love.

Te Wharepora Hou

Over the past thirty years we have seen Māori involvement in the film industry grow and flourish. The films of the 1980’s, Ngati, Mauri and Te Rua, all written and directed by Māori saw the emergence of Māori stories open a new genre of films in this country. They were films that were imbued with cultural ways of being and storytelling that was informed by the lives of a generation of Māori storytellers who struggled to create space within the film industry in this country. Storytellers and filmmakers Barry Barclay, Merata Mita and Don Selwyn lay a pathway for generations of Māori filmmakers to follow. It is a path that has been blocked for many years by an ongoing obsession with representations of Māori beating Māori. It was a roadblock that came in the form of ‘Once Were Warriors’ and which continued throughout the 1990’s with the sequel ‘What Became…

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