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New Local Doco Explores Section 501 Deportee Experience

MEDIA RELEASE
Thursday August 23, 2018
For Immediate Release

WHEN COMING HOME IS THE HARSHEST PART OF THE SENTENCE:
NEW LOCAL DOCO EXPLORES THE
SECTION 501 DEPORTEE EXPERIENCE

SECTION 501, a compelling new one-hour documentary that follows displaced New Zealanders deported back to Aotearoa under Australia's controversial law, will premiere on Monday September 3 at 8.30pm on Māori Television.

In 2014, Australia began hardline enforcement of Section 501 in the Migration Act, deporting all non-citizens who fail a character test. Since then, more than 3000 men and women, known as ‘501s’, have been deported back to their countries of birth. 1300 are New Zealanders – most with criminal records, many of whom have lived in Australia almost their entire lives.

Arriving in New Zealand with only $250 dollars and a one-week accommodation voucher, many 501s face a harsh re-integration into a country they barely know and the odds of them turning their lives around firmly stacked against them.

This deeply personal documentary charts the journeys of two such people: Mark and Josh. Both men moved to Australia as young children and return to New Zealand having to leave their own children behind. With no connections, no familiarity with Aotearoa and each with a criminal record, they attempt to build a life here under what can only be described as the worst possible circumstances.

Is New Zealand prepared to have more than an entire prison’s worth of criminals returned to our shores?

Mark doesn’t think so: “I don’t think New Zealand understands the amount of 501 criminals that are being deported back into the country. I don’t think you guys have a f*cking clue. There is [sic] hundreds of boys waiting to come back here, Australia does not care.”


The documentary is made by acclaimed filmmakers Prisca Bouchet and Nick Mayow who had a very specific motivation for taking on this project, saying: "We wanted to tell the personal, human story of this controversial pacific issue”. The pair spent more than two years working with Auckland prisoner rehabilitation organisation PARS (People at Risk Solutions), filming deportees and the men and women working alongside them.

Tui Ah Loo, Chief Executive Officer of PARS says: “Over 500 men and women have walked through our doors at PARS after deportation back to Auckland. They all have their story about being returned to a place they don’t call home. PARS is often the first sign of hope they may have a home, a community to belong to and a job to contribute to. In SECTION 501 we see a really challenging journey of hope and finding a home for Josh and Mark and the vital role of our community in supporting that.”

Produced by Julia Parnell of Notable Pictures and funded by NZ On Air for Māori Television,SECTION 501 takes the viewer beyond the sensationalised headlines to reveal the human stories at the heart of this international issue.

SECTION 501 airs Monday September 3 at 8.30pm on Māori Television.

* ends *

About Notable Pictures Ltd

A boutique production company operating in Auckland, New Zealand, Notable Pictures is a leading producer of factual television, documentary and short film, distributed across digital, television and theatrical. Committed to producing quality content that engages, provokes and entertains, we are a company that likes to champion the underdog, challenge the status quo and reflect deeply on the world in which we live.

Founded in 2010 by Company Director Julia Parnell, Notable Pictures has built a reputation for telling unique, well-crafted and compelling stories across a diverse range of formats. From entertaining factual series to award winning short films, Notable Pictures aims to give important stories the platform they deserve.

www.notablepictures.com


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