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Dame Anne Salmond retraces ancestor's journey

Dame Anne Salmond
retraces the journey of her pioneering great grandfather who
filmed and photographed Maori life. James McDonald- THE
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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dame Anne Salmond retraces the journey of her pioneering great grandfather who filmed and photographed Maori life.

The story of carver, artist, sculptor, filmmaker and photographer James McDonald will air on Maori Television this Saturday.

THE SCOTSMAN AND THE MAORI is this Saturday’s documentary screening at 8.30pm. In the documentary, mother and daughter – distinguished historian and writer Dame Anne Salmond and anthropologist Dr Amiria Salmond – explore the story of their ancestor who lived most of his life working with Maori.

McDonald was the son of a Scottish ploughman born in Otago in 1865 . In the early 1900’s he worked as a photographer and then utilised one of the first of the film cameras to arrive in NZ. Maori leaders of the day invited including Sir Peter Buck and Sir Apirana Ngata soon began to know him as “Mac” and they invited him to travel deep into the Maori world and the result is thousands of photographs as well as moving images.

“Apirana and Te Rangihiroa must have known what Mac’s images would mean for the descendents as he captured a way of Maori life that was rapidly disappearing. And for my daughter and I we can see that our lives have followed the work that our Great Grandfather started,” says Anne Salmond.

Now, 100 years later, the work of James McDonald is coming out of the archives and being returned back to the places where Mac and his team travelled. Along the way Anne and Amiria Salmond explore how some things have changed for Maori while other traditions such as the learning of ancient waiata have remained the same.

Director Libby Hakaraia says Anne Salmond is thrilled with THE SCOTSMAND AND THE MAORI documentary which she believes has a lot to say to the world about who we are as New Zealanders.

“It was an honour to work with one of our most distinguished historians and writers on an intimate journey with her and her family and to see that her great-grandfather’s films and photographs still hold relevant and important information for all New Zealanders.”


THE SCOTSMAN AND THE MAORI screens this Saturday 23 April at 8.30pm.

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