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Ka Mate! Ka Mate!

Short Film (Full Length) – 1987

This half-hour short film is a reenactment of events leading to Ngāti Toa leader Te Rauparaha’s ‘Ka Mate’ haka; he composed the chant after evading enemy capture by hiding in a kumara pit. (The haka would become famous after the All Blacks adopted it as a pre-game challenge.) Directed by pioneering filmmaker Barry Barclay in te reo, produced by John O’Shea and written by Tama Poata, the short was made in the lead-up to landmark Māori feature Ngati. Many of the crew were enlisted via a work scheme, aimed at redressing the lack of young Māori working in the screen industry.

In two rain sodden weeks in November, the ‘graduates’ plunged into the production of a Māori language short drama, Ka Mate! Ka Mate! made by Barry [Barclay] from Tama [Poata]'s script and funded by the New Zealand Film Commission through Pacific Films. In December, half of these wananga had survived these initiation ceremonies.
– Producer John O'Shea on Te Awa Marama, the collective who worked on Ka Mate! Ka Mate! and Ngati, in his book Don't Let it Get You, page 186

Key Cast & Crew

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Tama Poata

Writer, Associate Producer

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John O'Shea


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Barry Barclay


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Craig Walters


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Joel Thompson

As: Guard

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John Marshall

As: Guard

See all 29 credits

Produced by

Pacific Films