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Poroporoaki: Barry Barclay

Poroporoaki: Barry Barclay

Dr Pita Sharples and Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leaders, Maori Party Tuesday 19 February 2008

E to, e te ra, e to ki te rua.

A leading light in the world of indigenous film-making has been extinguished, with the death today of Barry Barclay, of Ngati Apa and Pakeha descent.

"Barry was a pioneer in New Zealand film and television, whose intense and detailed observations brought new insights to his audiences," said Dr Pita Sharples, co-leader of the Maori Party.

"Many people still remember vividly the 'Tangata Whenua' series, screened on TV in 1974, that Barry worked on with John O'Shea and Michael King - both of whom have already passed away," said Dr Sharples.

"In those days, it was a rare privilege for mainstream audiences to engage with our people in such a personal way - those programmes offered real understanding."

"And who could forget 'Ngati'," asked Pita Sharples, "the multi-award winning feature-length drama about life and love on the East Coast, that blossomed out of Barry's collaboration with Tama Poata of Ngati Porou? What a great movie."

"The legacy of his films is profound," said Hon Tariana Turia. "For example, Barry's documentary on patenting of life forms in 1985 encouraged Maori leaders to lodge the WAI 262 claim, to protect Aotearoa's indigenous flora and fauna from a commercial takeover. That claim has in turn helped indigenous peoples all round the world to protect their own cultures, natural heritage and traditional knowledge by asserting intellectual property rights."

"Barry also directed 'Feathers of Peace' - the first and so far only dramatised documentary largely in the Moriori language of the Chatham Islands. And his book 'Mana Tuturu', about indigenous intellectual property rights, was published only a couple of years ago," she added. "As a descendant of Ngati Apa myself, I was always very proud of Barry's achievements".

"You can see a pattern in all his work," said Dr Sharples. "Barry gave voice to the voiceless, and helped people tell their own stories. Behind the scenes he supported the next generation through his active support for groups like Te Manu Aute and Nga Aho Whakaari."

"Last year he became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the film industry - and we should add, to tangata whenua everywhere."

"Our thoughts are with Heather, and their family, at this sad time." "Na reira e Barry haere, haere ki te okioki ki te kainga tuturu mo te tangata, haere."


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