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 versus the mills crusade screened on Māori Television, and won Best Popular Documentary at the 2012 NZ Television Awards.
The Mockers were led by Andrew Fagan, who captivated audiences with flamboyant costumes, theatrics and a drawling pop vocal style. Formed in 1979 as the Ambitious Vegetables, Fagan and songwriter Gary Curtis renamed the band and set sail for pop stardom with a slew of hook laden singles and three studio albums. Their hit 'Forever Tuesday Morning' led to Fagan winning the 1985 RIANZ Top Male Vocalist award and in 1987 they headed to the UK, but not before drummer Steve Thorpe tragically killed himself; three years later the band dissolved.
Editor and director Dell King’s plans to be a filmmaker faced a challenge when she discovered that the Government’s National Film Unit had closed its doors to women directors. Instead King began her long screen career as a negative cutter, and later worked as editor or sound editor on a run of documentaries and features, including the classics Ngati and Vigil.