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Film, 1985 (Drama)






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Clips (2)

  1. An excerpt from this film.

  2. The credits from this film.


This feature film tells the story of writer and educator Sylvia Ashton-Warner as she forges her visionary philosophy of “organic teaching” while teaching Māori children at an isolated school with her husband in the 1940s. Taking in romance and struggle, Michael Firth’s portrait was widely praised: Village Voice named it one of the 10 best films of 1985 and critic Andrew Sarris gushed: “the intensely interacting performances of the four principals is nothing short of breathtaking”. The film is based on Ashton-Warner’s books Teacher and I Passed This Way.

Credits (21)

 Michael Firth
 Don Reynolds
 F. Fairfax

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Comments (2)

 Tu Matthews

Tu Matthews

Cast member: child in headmaster room. Front row blue dress and plats. Would be great to see the others from the beautiful film. Had a blast back then..would love to look for others who remember this.

 Te Rama Kerr

Te Rama Kerr

I relate to her

Produced by

  • Southern Light Films
  • Cinepro/Pillsbury Films


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This is a movie of eloquent dialogue and even more eloquent silences; of wonderful faces that tell whole worlds in a glance, a pause, a kiss in the rain. 
I see my mother in her performance. 
[...] both engrossing and enchanting. [Firth] is clearly on Sylvia's side, but he manages to make her more sympathetic by making her more fallibly human. 


1986 National Mutual GOFTA Awards
Best Female Performance in a Supporting Role: Mary Regan