In this excerpt from Marae, Elle Hughes interviews John O'Shea about producing groundbreaking documentary series Tangata Whenua. Prior to its 1974 screening in primetime — significant, in a time of single channel TV — Māori "lacked a voice" on the Pākehā medium of television. O'Shea says the aim was "a better understanding. We wanted to listen to what the Māori people said". Tangata Whenua captured interviews with kaumatua from different iwi for posterity, and increased Pākehā understanding of land grievances, including the Tainui-led occupation in Raglan in the 1970s.
The Camera on the Shore is a feature-length portrait of a man who argued eloquently for the rights of indigenous people to control the camera. Based on extensive interviews with Barry Barclay and those who knew him — and footage from his work — it traces the path of one of the first people to bring a Māori perspective to the screen. The documentary ranges from Barclay's early years in a monastery to speeches at his tangi, touching en route on landmark TV series Tangata Whenua, battling corporations on doco The Neglected Miracle, and behind the scenes conflict on Te Rua.
Following campaigns in the 1970s for more Māori and Polynesian broadcasting, Pacific Viewpoint marked one of New Zealand television's earliest forays into ongoing Pacific programming. It was made largely by Pākehā, although the presenting and reporting team included John Rangihau, Pere Maitai and Katerina Mataira. The title of the weekly series signalled a focus on Pacific stories, but the show struck a balance between both Māori and Pacific topics. Screening on Sunday afternoons on South Pacific Television, the series was initially produced in Hamilton.
This 1979 episode of Pacific Viewpoint features Guide Bubbles — aka Dorothy Huhana Mihinui — who showed guests around Rotorua's hot pools at Whakarewarewa for close to half a century. She talks about how tourism has changed at the pools over the years, and reminisces about famed guides Rangi and Bella. At the time of the interview Mihinui was the senior guide, having been promoted after Rangi’s passing in 1970. After her 1985 retirement she was made an MBE, then a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. The beloved guide died in June 2006.
Tangata Whenua was a groundbreaking six-part documentary series that screened (remarkably in primetime) in 1974. Each episode chronicled a different iwi and included interviews by historian Michael King with kaumātua. These remain a priceless historical record. The Feltex Award-winning script was by King and director Barry Barclay. The NZBC said the series had "possibly done more towards helping the European understand the Māori people, their traditions and way of life, than anything else previously shown on television". Paul Diamond writes about Tangata Whenua here.
In her 10 year tenure as Māori Affairs correspondent for One News, Tini Molyneux fronted some of the biggest news stories in New Zealand, let alone Māoridom — including the Foreshore and Seabed hikoi, the birth of the Māori Party and the 2007 Urerewa police raids. She began her 30 year television career as a newsreader for Te Karere, and went on to present and report stories for Waka Huia and Marae.