Mairi Gunn began working in the camera department in the mid 80s. Since then she has shot music videos (notably Outer Space for The 3Ds), short films, and the feature-length Gravity & Grace (directed by Chris Kraus). Gunn shot and co-produced award-winning eco-documentary Restoring the Mauri of Lake Omapere, looking at the history and future of a Northland lake.

When the army was rolling up the road I started crying and had to sniff back the tears and say, 'Come on, this is a job girl. Get out there and at it.' That's when I first saw Merata Mita on the back of a truck. She was elevated and I thought, 'That woman knows what she's doing.' Mairi Gunn, in book framing Women, on her first contact with film: Bastion Point, 1978
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Glory Box

2010, Director, Writer, Camera, Editor - Short Film

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Whero

2010, Camera - Short Film

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Guitars from the Leafy Suburbs

2008, Camera

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An Abbreviated Life: Sarah's Story Living with Cystic Fibrosis

2008, Camera - Television

Sarah is a charismatic, confident 18 year old, about to leave school, head to uni and go flatting. What she doesn't tell many people is that on top of coping with the travails of teenagehood, she also has cystic fibrosis and a life expectancy of 32. A serious lung infection could kill her within days. When her army parents shift to Australia, she is left alone in a new town, responsible for the first time for her own physiotherapy and relentless medication. The spirit-affirming DOCNZ finalist was directed by Anna Cottrell and Jan Jeans, and screened on TV ONE.

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Community Media in Latin America

2007, Camera - Short Film

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Restoring the Mauri of Lake Omapere

2007, Producer, Camera - Film

This 76-minute documentary looks at efforts to restore the mauri (life spirit) of Northland's Lake Omapere, a large fresh water lake — and taonga to the Ngāpuhi people — made toxic by pollution. Simon Marler's film offers a timely challenge to New Zealand's 100% Pure branding, and an argument for kaitiakitanga (guardianship) that respects ecological and spiritual well-being. There is spectacular footage of the lake's endangered long-finned eel. Barry Barclay in Onfilm called the film "powerful, sobering". It screened at the 2008 National Geographic All Roads Film Festival.

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Daughters of the Pacific

2005, Camera - Television

This 2005 documentary tells the story of four New Zealand-born women whose parents come from villages in Samoa, Tonga and Niue. Social worker Emeline Afeaki-Mafile'o, students and mothers Pule Puletaua and Lanni Liuvaie, and playwright Louise Tu’u face the challenges of combining two cultures to forge an identity in Aotearoa — from family, language, food and religion to flatting and hair cutting rituals. As narrator Sandra Kailali says, "to be true to both is hard work: success in one often comes at a cost to the other." 

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Frontseat

2006, Camera - Television

With five series and close to 100 episodes, Frontseat, produced by The Gibson Group, was the longest-running arts programme of its time. Billed by TVNZ publicity as a "topical and provocative weekly arts series investigating the issues facing local arts and culture", and hosted by actor Oliver Driver, it (sometimes controversially) took a broad current affairs approach to the arts of the day, covering "all the big events, reporting the stories, and interviewing the personalities."

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Middle Earth Report

2003, Camera

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My Only Friend

2000, Camera - Music video

Chris Knox has described this love song as being “about as naked as I get” and “utterly heartfelt in a way that ‘Not Given Lightly’ only hints at”. So it’s no surprise the video is perhaps his most personal, with striking images of his long-time partner Barbara Ward’s face, sometimes projected on and merged with Knox’s own image. Mix in some classic low-tech Knox animation and the simple big red heart image of the Beat album cover - and it’s a poignant little gem.

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'Op Stars: Mobil Song Quest

2000, Camera - Television

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Donuts for Breakfast

2000, Camera - Short Film

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Mrs W. Grant

2000, Camera - Short Film

Mrs W. Grant provides insight into the quirky ways of humans, at a place many of us will one day come to know - the retirement home. Mrs W. Grant may be short in duration, but it rounds off with a big punchline. Written and directed by Simon Marler, the film screened in the Homegrown season at the 2000 NZ Film Festival, and was selected for the 2002 Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland.    

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Inside Out

1998 - 2004, Director, Camera - Television

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Point Your Toes, Cushla!

1998, Camera - Short Film

Point Your Toes, Cushla! captures a girl's eye view of the final minutes before she goes on stage in a ballet contest — where one wrong move could be a short cut to humiliation. In this case the danger is heightened thanks to a stage mother whose idea of encouragement is constant meddling (played in scene-stealing brilliance by Alison Wall). Low on dialogue but rich in detail, this film by Simon Marler was invited to a number of overseas festivals, where it won a jury diploma in St Petersburg. It also got general release in Kiwi cinemas. 

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Erin's Exiled Daughters

1997, Camera - Television

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Gravity & Grace

1995, Camera - Film

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Reality Show

1995, Camera

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Ngaire

1994, Director, Camera, Producer - Music video

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Rewind

1994, Camera - Music video

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Love Seen (From a Black Hole)

1994, Camera - Short Film

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Sex, Power and Birth Control

1993, Camera - Television

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The Shooting of Dominick Kaiwhata

1993, Camera

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Typhon's People

1993, Focus Puller - Television

After the assassination of scientist David Typhon, a cast of interested parties head for his secret lab in New Zealand, pursuing the truth behind rumoured experiments on humans. Among them are rabid protestors, a European infiltrator (Michael Hurst) and the strangely-gifted Cato (Greg Wise). Typhon’s People marked a rare time that writer Margaret Mahy created a story aimed at adult audiences. Blessed with an impressive cast of Kiwis, Brits (Wise, Alfred Molina), and The Castle star Sophie Lee, it sold as both a mini-series and as a 90 minute tele-movie.

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Outer Space

1992, Director, Camera, Producer - Music video

Nearly two decades before Mighty Boosh comes this loopy confection. With its missing visage line "I left my face, in outer space" you know this is going to be one trippy song — and the wild and spacey video is totally in keeping with the track. There’s UFO imagery and all sorts of other mad things thrown in, including a dinosaur skeleton and a vacuum cleaner played like a guitar. And it must be one of the few music videos to feature a band member wearing a peggy squares crochet poncho. The clip won Best Music Video at the 1993 NZ Music Awards.

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Timetrap

1990, Camera - Short Film

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Singing Seas

1989, Cinematographer, Camera Operator - Short Film

This impressionistic 1989 short film, directed by Mark Summerville, imagines gay tribal life on a fantasy South Pacific Island. Shot by Mairi Gunn, the film ripples with watery blues; a stormy Maggie Rankin soundtrack and whispered narration (from Ivan Davis) backgrounds images of marine sirens, coral crowns, apples, tapa, and entwined seaweed. In the middle of it all — a game of underwater hockey... The short film crossed the seas to gay film festivals in San Francisco, Vancouver and Hamburg, and toured with a British Film Institute selection of shorts.

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Sensitive to a Smile

1987, Camera - Music video

Herbs visited the troubled East Coast town of Ruatoria in 1987, bringing music and aroha. They left with a documentary and this music video, which shows the band meeting and performing for the locals. Both The Power of Music and the music video were co-directed by Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors ) — in one of his earliest turns as director —and cinematographer John Day (Room that Echoes). The ode to love and harmony was judged Best Music Video at the 1987 New Zealand Music Awards.

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Execution Sinfonia

1984, Director, Producer, Camera - Short Film