When she made Mauri, Merata Mita became the first Māori woman to direct, write and produce a feature film. Mauri (meaning life force), is loosely set around a love triangle and explores cultural tensions, identity, and a changing way of life in a dwindling East Coast town. As with Barry Barclay's Ngati, Mauri played a key role in the burgeoning Māori screen industry; the production team numbered 33 Māori and 20 Pākehā, including interns from Hawkes Bay wānanga. NZ art icon Ralph Hotere helmed the production design; Māori activist Eva Rickard played kuia Kara.
It was a quietly satisfying moment to enter the theatre on the opening night of Mauri and see the pride of so many brown faces. I am very proud to have made something for us, so relentless and uncompromising, and for me it was another brief fulfilled.– Merata Mita in Deborah Shepard's Reframing Women
Available to buy and rent from NZ Film On Demand
Made in association with the New Zealand Film Commission and Radio Hauraki.
Musical director Hirini Melbourne
Original musc and performance by Amokura.