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Nga Aho Whakaari, Maori in Film and TV Conference

Press Release

Nga Aho Whakaari, Maori in Film and Television Annual Conference

June 12-14, Orakei Marae

She was there on day 507 of the Bastion Pt occupation filming what would become the most significant New Zealand documentary of our age. That was the day protestors were forcibly removed by police and military forces. Twenty nine years later, Merata Mita returns to Bastion Pt to launch the annual Nga Aho Whakaari Maori in film and television conference.

“It’s not only appropriate that Merata launch the conference, it is necessary. Organisations’ like ours would not have existed without the work of people like Merata Mita,” says Nga Aho Whakaari Executive Director, Pita Turei.

“This year we’re honouring the works of friends past and present who struggled to achieve what we now have, the ability and the mandate to step away from cynical powerbrokers and launch into the digital age with the confidence of knowing our practitioners are ready and willing.

”This year we’re meeting with the funders and the networks as peers, equals and clients not as beneficiaries approaching with caps in hand.

“Therefore it’s appropriate that Bastion Pt be the place we all meet as equals.” Says Turei.

Merata Mita’s work in documentary has been acclaimed overseas for its original, hard-hitting style including Bastion Pt – Day 507 and Patu, a piece that documented the violent protests surrounding the tour of the South African rugby team in1981. So controversial was the documentary that it was stonewalled from being released for decades.

In 1988 she made her first dramatic feature, Mauri, making her the first Maori woman to direct a feature film.

Merata has also stepped in front of the camera for the first Maori television series called Koha. It was the country’s first series made by Maori for Maori. She is currently Assistant Professor at the Academy of Creative Media, University of Hawaii, she serves on the Board of Advisors for the National Geographic’s All Roads Film Project and works on other international boards.

She now spends her time between Hauraki and Hawaii.


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