Richard Turner’s work as a director began with poetry-based works, pioneering Māori works for television, and Squeeze (1980), New Zealand’s first gay-themed feature. Since then he has made films largely in Australia.

Behind the starched exterior of the state broadcaster was a personality much like my old grand aunties; much more radical and free-thinking than they were ever given credit for. Richard Turner, recalling New Zealand television in the late 70s.

Lunch with Madame Murat

2007, Director, Producer - Television

Tokyo Techno Tribes

2002, Producer - Film

'Op Stars: Mobil Song Quest

2000, Producer - Television

Drop Dead Gorgeous (aka Harbourside)

1997, Director - Television

Violet’s Visit

1996, Director, Writer - Film

In the Shadow of a Gaol

1991, Director, Writer - Film

The Object of Beauty

1991, Associate Producer - Film

We’ll Dance if We Want to

1984, Director, Producer - Film


1980, Director, Producer, Writer - Film

Richard Turner made Squeeze to break the "conspiracy of silence" about homosexuality. A pioneering early portrait of Auckland's LGBT scene, Squeeze centres on the relationship between a young man (Paul Eady) and the confident executive (Robert Shannon) who romances him, then mentions he has a fiancée. The film was discussed in Parliament after Patricia Bartlett campaigned against the possibility it might get NZ Film Commission funding (it didn't). Kevin Thomas in The LA Times praised Squeeze's integrity and the "steadfast compassion with which it views its hero".

Death of the Land

1978, Producer, Director - Television

This courtroom drama sets in conflict opinions about the proposed sale of a block of Māori ancestral land. The arguments are intercut with footage of the 1975 land march, and Jim Moriarty comments on proceedings as a tangata whenua conscience. The drama shows its stage origins (it was adapted by Rowley Habib from his 1976 play) but it is passionate and articulate, and is notable as the first TV drama to be written by a Māori scriptwriter. The grievances aired echoed contemporary events, particularly the Eva Rickard-led occupation of the Raglan Golf Course.

Two Rivers Meet / Te Tutakinga O Nga Awa E Rua

1977, Director, Editor - Short Film

This 1977 film looks at the meeting of the 'two rivers' (Māori and Pākehā, oral and written) of the Aotearoa literary tradition. Rowley Habib is a guide as hui take place and readings of contemporary Māori poetry are set to images of Māori life, from Parihaka and land march photos to Bastion Point, urban scenes and a Black Power hangi. Poets include Mana Cracknell, Peter Croucher, Robin Kora, (a young) Keri Hulme, Brian King, Apirana Taylor, Katarina Mataira, Don Selwyn, Henare Dewes, Rangi Faith, Dinah Rawiri, Haare Williams, Hone Tuwhare, and Arapera Blank.


1976, Director, Producer, Editor - Short Film


1976, Director, Producer - Short Film

Garlic Seed

1976, Director, Producer - Short Film

Fools Song

1972, Director, Producer, Editor - Short Film