This Qantas-nominated 70-minute documentary turns the camera on photographer Ans Westra. The Dutch émigré captured iconic images of New Zealanders from the late 1950s, expressively observing changes in Kiwi society — particularly Māori urban drift. This film explores her remarkable life and work, and includes commentary from family, friends, photographers, and those she photographed. There is also discussion of the controversy over her 1964 book Washday at the Pā. Luit Bieringa, curator of a 2004 Westra's exhibition, directed the documentary — it was his first. Read more about both Westra and the film here.
The photographs were so strong that they convey their own messages, and allow space for people to interpret what they choose to find, what they choose to relate to their own experience. So, to some extent, words alongside pictures have to be limited. Certainly, they should never try to take away from or take over the spirit of the photograph.– Author Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira on the book she worked on with Ans Westra, Whaiora: The Pursuit of Life (1985)
Funded by NZ On Air, TV One, and Air New Zealand