Māori Resistance in New Zealand Feature Film History

Wilson, JKT
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Journal Article
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Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga

This article draws on the textual analysis of films that produced three distinctive collective resistances across New Zealand film history. Hāhi Ringatū leaders protested to the Chief Film Censor about the portrayal of their beloved prophet Te Kooti in the Te Kooti Trail. The director was forced to make changes, and delayed the release. Later, after decades of support, Te Arawa were collectively absent from film production for nearly forty years after director Alexander Markey insulted their manaakitanga with a series of misdemeanours during the production of Under the Southern Cross. Lastly, my Ngāti Kawa whānau refused to respond to a screening of The Seekers, utilising silence to show their resistance to such portrayals of Māori. I briefly explore silence as an unusual but valid response to film, and I counterpoint the gross stereotypes portrayed in the film with mātauranga Māori concepts the filmmaker may have based the characterisations on.

Silence; Resistance; Counterpoint; Film history
MAI Journal 2018: Volume 7 Issue 1
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MAI Journal is an open access journal that publishes multidisciplinary peer-reviewed articles that critically analyse and address indigenous and Pacific issues in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand.