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Clips (4)

  1. Part one of three from this full length documentary.

  2. Part two of three from this full length documentary.

  3. Part three of three from this full length documentary.

  4. The credits for this documentary.


This homegrown Erin Brockovich story follows former Whakatane sawmill worker Joe Harawira and his long battle to reveal the impact that workplace toxins have had on his community. In the 80s after being afflicted by health issues, Harawira noticed co-workers getting sick. In 1988 he helped found SWAP (Sawmill Workers Against Poisons) and began investigating the effects of exposure to dioxins, a by-product of timber treatment. The Joe vs the mills crusade screened on Māori Television and won Best Popular Documentary at the 2012 New Zealand Television Awards.

Credits (9)

 Kathleen Mantel
 Megan Douglas
 David Kilgour

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Comments (1)



I have often asked why people now seem so sick now, compared to when I was a kid, this documentary is part of the answer, living on a farm, I was exposed to this poison via weedkillers, not as much as these people, but still a lot, as were thousands of people now dead that worked on farms


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OSH wasn’t around in those days ... The safety precautions were pretty rugged really ... now that we know what we know now. 
Men brought back their overalls that were wet with PCP and dioxins and the wives washed them. 
It was never about compensation, but about finding out what can be done to make it better. 
I believe that the primary reason that they were not listened to and taken seriously was because they were Māori. For Māori to complain about technical things, which they — by Pākehā assessments had no right in complaining about — of course they’re going to be dismissed ... and they were. 


2012 New Zealand Television Awards
Best Popular Documentary