A pioneer of New Zealand film and star of classic 1940 movie Rewi's Last Stand, Ramai Hayward is credited as this country’s first Māori filmmaker, camerawoman, and scriptwriter. At the 2005 Wairoa Māori Film Festival she received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Māori filmmaking; the following year Hayward was made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit. She passed away early in July 2014.

It costs a lot of money to make films, and it kept us poor. It kept us happy because it was an adventure all the time. Ramai Hayward (age 73), in a 1989 Koha TV profile
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Frontseat - Series Two, Episode 10

2006, Subject - Television

This episode of arts show Frontseat visits the inaugural edition of the Māori Film Festival in Wairoa, with Ramai Hayward and Merata Mita making star turns, alongside a tribute to teenage filmmaker Cameron Duncan. Elsewhere, Deborah Smith and Marti Friedlander korero about their She Said exhibition, and about photographing kids and staging reality; and Auckland’s St Matthew in the City showcases spiritual sculpture. A ‘where are they now’ piece catches up with Val Irwin, star of Ramai and Rudall Hayward's interracial romance To Love a Māori (1972). 

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Purakau - Māori Myths and Legends

2005, Narrator - Television

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New Zealand at War

1995, Subject - Television

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Opo

1991, Subject - Television

This dramatised documentary looks back to 1955, when a female bottlenose dolphin began appearing regularly in Hokianga Harbour, close to the town of Opononi. Opo became a national celebrity, but died in controversial circumstances on 9 March 1956, the suspected victim of bombing by local fisherman. Directed by Steve La Hood (Numero Bruno, Swimming Lessons), the film recreates events of the summer and explores the belief of local Māori that Opo was a messenger sent by Kupe to unite the people. It includes interviews and extensive archival footage of Opo.

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Linda's Body

1990, As: Rangi - Short Film

Performance group The Front Lawn (Don McGlashan, Harry Sinclair) stretch all of their prolific talents in this kooky Truly, Madly, Deeply style short. An eerie body-shifting whistled tune precedes Ben (McGlashan) finding his partner Linda (Jennifer Ward-Lealand) dead in bed. Then things get stranger: Linda’s ghost catches up with an old lover Victor (Sinclair) and faces a life-changing dilemma, while her body — awol with a tennis player on Tamaki Drive — has other plans. The surreal romance was made for TVNZ; it won best short at the 1990 NZ Screen Awards.

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The Billy T James Show (Sitcom) - Excerpts

1990, As: Tilly - Television

In these excerpts from his last TV series — a family based sitcom — Billy T has to deal with his radical older daughter who wants to get a moko, a teenage boy trying to smuggle beer into his younger daughter’s birthday party, a defamation writ, and another tribe becoming his landlord. There are varying degrees of help from his wife (Ilona Rodgers), his aggressively dim Australian brother-in-law (Mark Hadlow) and his daughter’s painfully politically correct pakeha boyfriend (Mark Wright), as well as cameos from Temuera Morrison, Martin Henderson and Blair Strang.

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Koha - Ramai Hayward

1989, Subject - Television

Screen taonga Ramai Hayward has lived many lives, and this Koha special touches on most of them. Still vibrant at age 73, Hayward climbs a favoured apricot tree from her Wairarapa childhood, kickstarting a journey through old haunts and celluloid: the school where she produced a play at 12, the photo studio she commanded during WW2, and the sprawling Mt Eden house that was filmmaking HQ for her and husband Rudall Hayward. Ramai also recalls pioneering films shot in China, an encounter with Chairman Mao, and bullying tactics by the CIA.

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E Tipu e Rea - Roimata

1989, As: Nan - Television

A rural raised woman (Dianne Renolds) reconnects with her half sister (Rena Owen) in the city, and learns some hard life lessons. Roimata was the first film directed by then unknown writer Riwia Brown. Brown was initially reluctant to direct the adaptation of her play but, encouraged by producer Larry Parr, she decided that with only one Māori woman director in New Zealand (Merata Mita) there was a need to develop the talent of Māori women in the industry. Brown later wrote the screenplay for Once Were Warriors. Screen legend Ramai Hayward also features.

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Koha - Nga Pikitia Māori

1987, Subject - Television

This episode of Koha is an examination of the Māori feature film industry, from the pioneers of the silent era up to feature film Mauri. Reflection on international screenings of groundbreaking feature Ngati frames interviews with Witarina Harris, Ramai Hayward, Barry Barclay, Wi Kuki Kaa and Merata Mita. Barclay talks of the importance of Māori telling Māori stories. “We’ve seen heaps of pictures of cowboys and Indians eh, but they’re always made by the cowboys.” Includes footage of The Devil’s Pit, Rewi's Last Stand, Ngati, The Governor, and Mauri.

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Matenga - Māori Choreographer

1973, Camera, Director, Producer - Short Film

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The Doll's House

1973, Camera, Director - Short Film

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The Young Albanians

1972, Co-Producer, Co-Director - Short Film

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To Love a Māori

1972, As: Tama's Aunty, Writer, Co-Producer, Co-Director - Film

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Survey - The Town that Lost a Miracle

1972, Subject - Television

In this 1972 documentary writer James McNeish visits Opononi to examine the life and controversial death of Opo the dolphin. Working from a McNeish idea, director Barry Barclay uses Opo’s mid 50s visit to the Hokianga as the basis for a probing film essay on people, and other animals. Witnesses recall Opo “oomping away”; they include local Piwai Toi, filmmakers Rudall and Ramai Hayward, and author Maurice Shadbolt. Opo is provokingly not shown on screen. Michael King praised Miracle as “without a doubt the most interesting and evocative” slot in the Survey series to date.

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Alpine Shepherds of New Zealand

1969, Producer - Short Film

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Caravan Companions - Happy Days in New Zealand

1969, Writer - Short Film

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Eel History was a Mystery

1968, Producer - Short Film

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A Village in Samoa

1966, Writer, Producer - Short Film

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The Arts of Māori Children

1965, Writer, Producer - Short Film

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The Living Fossil - The Tuatara

1964, Subject, Producer - Short Film

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A North Island Dairy Farm

1963, Writer, Producer - Short Film

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Children in China

1961, Camera, Editor, Writer, Director - Short Film

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Song of the Wanganui

1961, Writer - Short Film

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Inside Red China

1958, Subject, Writer - Short Film

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Wonders of China

1958, Writer - Short Film

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Rewi's Last Stand

1940, As: Ariana - Film