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Clips (2)

  1. An excerpt from this documentary.

  2. The credits from this making-of featurette.


This documentary sees director Gaylene Preston go behind the scenes during the making of Geoff Murphy's Utu — his ambitious 'puha western' set during the 1870s land wars. “It’s like football innit? You set up the event and cover it …” says Murphy, preparing to shoot a battle scene. In this excerpt, the film’s insistence on cultural respect is conveyed: Merata Mita discusses the beauty of ta moko as Anzac Wallace is transformed into Te Wheke in the make-up chair, and Martyn Sanderson reflects on having his head remade to be blown off: “What’s the time Mr Wolf?”.


Background by Tony Hiles 22.05.2009

Making Utu is a documentary by Gaylene Preston about the making of the 1983 feature film Utu (directed by 

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Credits (25)

 Gaylene Preston
 Kevin Chisnall
 Tim Eliott

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Comments (2)



This footage really brought the film home for me, what they were trying to achieve. Being in the UK, I've only seen an endearingly tattered print of 'Utu' in not-so-endearing poor resolution, but I hope to see this restoration someday. The work you are doing with this site is invaluable, keep up the good work!

 Jonathan Crayford

Jonathan Crayford

Great work from Gaylene.


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Included in:

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In New Zealand today we [still] have Māori fighting Māori, Māori fighting Pākehā, Pākehā fighting Pākehā — it's very hard to draw the line. 
Utu made extremely complex statements about the absurdity of trying to alter people's political and philosophical thinking by shooting bullets into their heads. 
The thing I like about filmmaking is that it gives you the opportunity to blow up sheds and throw pianos off balconies. 
It’s like football innit? You set up the event and cover it …