Screen taonga Ramai Hayward lived many lives, and this Koha special touches on most of them. Still vibrant at age 73, Hayward climbs a favoured apricot tree from her Wairarapa childhood, kickstarting a journey through old haunts and celluloid: the school where she produced a play at 12, the photo studio she commanded during WW2, and the sprawling Mt Eden house that was filmmaking headquarters for her and husband Rudall Hayward. Ramai also recalls pioneering films shot in China, an encounter with Chairman Mao, and bullying tactics by the CIA. Ramai passed away in July 1994, at age 98.
In 1937, a “year of destiny” for Ramai, well-known film-maker Rudall Hayward was in the process of casting the sound version of his classic, Rewi’s Last Stand, and offered Ramai the part of the beautiful Māori heroine, Ariana.– Jacqueline Amoamo, writing in 1993 book Standing in the Sunshine
Thanks to the Hayward Historical Film Trust and Te Manuka Trust.