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Ōtara - Defying the Odds

Television (Full Length) – 1998

Postwar Māori, Pākehā and Pacific Island migrants made Ōtara the fastest growing area in New Zealand. But as local industries closed, it became a poster suburb for poverty and crime. This TV3 Inside New Zealand documentary sees eight successes from Ōtara telling their stories — from actor Rawiri Paretene and MP Tau Henare, to teachers and entrepreneurs. They reflect on mean streets, education, community and the Ōtara spirit. The first documentary from Ōtara-raised producer Rhonda Kite (who is also interviewed), it won Best Māori Programme at the 1999 NZ TV Awards.

What happened in Ōtara must happen to the whole country. It is a seminal place if you like. I wouldn’t mind a New Zealand like Ōtara. It would suit me fine.
– Former Hillary College principal Garfield Johnson

Produced by

Air Force Digital


Documentary dedicated to Maata Hapai Wiki (1917 - 1998)

Made with funding from NZ On Air