We use cookies to help us understand how you use our site, and make your experience better. To find out more read our privacy policy.
Play

00:00

/

00:00

Full screen
Video quality

Low 0 MB

High 0 MB

HD 0 MB

Captions
Volume
Volume
Hero image for Patu!

Patu!

Film (Full Length) – 1983

PG
Parental Guidance
Yes, Patu! has a Māori perspective, but it does not override the mass mobilisation of New Zealand's white middle class, neither does it take credit from those who rightly deserve it, everyone who put themselves on the line. My perspective encourages people to look at themselves and examine the ground they stand on.
– Director Merata Mita responds to accusations Patu! is biased, in 1992 book Film in Aotearoa New Zealand, page 47
..there was rather a lot of controversy within the film industry and within anybody who knew that the film was being made, to Merata actually being the director of the film. And it seemed that this criticism was coming because people felt that she would put a Māori bias onto the film. Of course nobody questioned the fact that everything else that went onto television at that stage in this country actually had a Pākehā bias because there were no Māori people inputting into either television or the film industry.
– Patu! editor Annie Collins, in 1998 documentary Rangatira - Making Waves
At the end of the showing there were very few dry eyes in the room. And I was very very deeply moved.
– South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes a screening of Patu!
I'd like to welcome you all from out of town to the city of Palmerston North, which is a city under siege. We've got 1500 cops here, we've got long batons, short batons, we've got dogs, we've got barbed wire. We've got the air force overhead and the army at the ground. Which will make any South Africans in this town feel pretty much at home, because it's very much like Johannesberg.
– Unidentified protester in Palmerston North
I've been fighting racist tours since 1959, and I see no reason to stop.
– A woman protesting against the tour in Auckland, on 1 May 1981
Just in Auckland here, we've delivered today 100,000 leaflets to letter boxes in Auckland . . . people are now realising that this tour really is on, and they've got to really get out and stop it. Public opposition is building fast...
– John Minto
The whole world's watching, the whole world's watching.
– A much repeated protest chant
What you did just then, you did for the last time. You do that when there's anything happening, and you'll get stomped on or locked up.
– A policeman is filmed addressing some protesters in Palmerston North
it's a real shambles here at Rugby Park Hamilton. There's no way this game's going to start for quite a while, by the look of things. Red smoke bombs being thrown by the demonstrators, and people coming out from the stand, trying to put them out. The rugby crowd's booing and heckling the demonstrators . . . the situation seems under control, although it is very very tense.
– Radio broadcaster Graeme Moody finds himself covering a protest in Hamilton, on 25 July 1981
The thing that surprises me here in New Zealand is that there doesn't seem to be an awareness that in South Africa there is a big, black rugby union, which is the main rugby union for the majority of the people. I call it the big black union because it's 90 odd per cent black, not because they want it that way. It's non-racial, and white's are welcomed in it.
– Banned South African newspaper editor Donald Woods, after being invited to New Zealand by an anti-tour group
We do not fear you. We might shed blood on the road, we might show some bruises tonight, but at least we can sleep with a clear conscience. We will sleep with a clear conscience. Many of you won’t. Some of you might think you will, but history is on our side, and that’s what matters . . . History is always on the side of the people — not armies, not policemen and not governments. History is always on the side of the people.
– Actor Tama Poata in a speech to police, 87 minutes into Patu!
Patu! stands as a landmark contribution to documentary and to cinema as direct action, easily placed alongside other works like Agnes Varda’s The Black Panthers (1968) and Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County, USA (1976). It holds a special place in the hearts of the indigenous filmmakers who were inspired and energised by it, and who recognised the paepae aspect of authorship mirrored in their own cultures. Most significantly, it was viewed with respect and solidarity by Black South Africans, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and by fellow Indigenous people. Few works of documentary ever become moral as well as artistic achievements.
– Writer Dan Taipua pays tribute to Patu!, The Spinoff, 30 July 2021
The film's greatest achievement, apart from the fact it was actually made, is its skilful editing. Images resonate or clash with each other to create an impressionistic history, whether it is clowns armed with baguettes, street theatre by school kids, protesters facing down police, or the Mongrel Mob marching ominously into the fray . . . Patu! may be agitprop but it is remarkable agitprop — a voice, angry, intelligent and Māori, from beyond the establishment.
– Hamish McDouall in 2009 book 100 Essential New Zealand Films, page 136
The police started coming round to my home after a court order empowered them to seize material relating to the tour for court cases. They came round perhaps a dozen times, and we were searched, followed, harassed in all sorts of ways . . . One night I woke up to find the police in the house with dogs. They had picked up my son as he was walking home from babysitting.
– Director Merata Mita in 1986 book Head and Shoulders, page 59
...it started out being the film that recorded how the tour would be stopped, and it turned into this ugly monster that became the Springbok tour.
– Director Merata Mita on Patu!, in 1998 documentary Rangatira - Making Waves
...it was just a snap thing. It turned, the underbelly of New Zealand society showed up, and it was pretty ugly. It was vicious, it was violent, it was racist, and that was a shock to me. But it was a good shock, because it taught me never again to underestimate what I was up against.
– Director Merata Mita on abuse directed at her and Patu! cameraman Barry Harbert during filming. in 1986 book Head and Shoulders, page 59
The film created almost as much controversy as the tour itself. In drawing a parallel between a racist South Africa and a Pākehā state which was prepared to go to extreme lengths, putting its police in riot gear for the first time ever, in order to preserve links with the apartheid regime, Mita struck at the heart of New Zealand society.
– Writers Jocelyn Robson and Beverley Zalcock on Patu!, in their 1997 book Girls’ Own Stories - Australian and New Zealand Women's Films, page 51
So far the highest contribution has come from the churches — 20,000 dollars— The Arts Council has granted 13.000 dollars, and the Film Commission has lent 18,000.
– Reporter Alison Parr on the biggest contributors to Patu!

If you liked this, you might also like...

Collection
Collection image for Rugby

Rugby

This collection celebrates rugby in New Zealand as it's...

Collection
Collection image for The Roger Donaldson Collection

The Roger Donaldson Collection

A collection devoted to the career of director Roger...

Collection
Collection image for The Protest Collection

The Protest Collection

A collection which spans decades of public protest in...

Collection
Collection image for The Gaylene Preston Collection

The Gaylene Preston Collection

A collection full of riches, devoted to the work of Dame...

Collection
Collection image for The Merata Mita Collection

The Merata Mita Collection

A collection celebrating Māori filmmaker Merata Mita.

Thumbnail image for Close Up - Patu: Completing the Picture

Close Up - Patu: Completing the Picture

Current affairs report on Patu!

Thumbnail image for Kete Aronui - Merata Mita

Kete Aronui - Merata Mita

Merata Mita talks about Patu! during this interview

Thumbnail image for 1981 - A Country at War

1981 - A Country at War

Another documentary about the events of 1981

Thumbnail image for Try Revolution

Try Revolution

The South African view of the 1981 protests

Thumbnail image for A Political Game

A Political Game

All Blacks versus Springbok history

Thumbnail image for The Game of Our Lives - Tries and Penalties

The Game of Our Lives - Tries and Penalties

Documentary on NZ-South Africa rugby relations

Thumbnail image for Koha - Merata Mita Interview

Koha - Merata Mita Interview

Director Merata Mita talks about Patu!

Thumbnail image for The Friday Conference - Abraham Ordia public forum

The Friday Conference - Abraham Ordia public forum

A fiery debate on apartheid in sport from 1976

Thumbnail image for Children of the Revolution

Children of the Revolution

A documentary on children of 1970s/80s protesters

Thumbnail image for Radicals

Radicals

Documentary on modern Māori protest

Thumbnail image for Azania

Azania

A protest song from 1981

Thumbnail image for Rangatira: Merata Mita - Making Waves

Rangatira: Merata Mita - Making Waves

Documentary on the director of Patu!

Thumbnail image for Polynesian Panthers

Polynesian Panthers

More protest against racism

Thumbnail image for Rage

Rage

Excerpt from a drama about the tour

Thumbnail image for The Gravy - Series One, Episode Four (Tigilau Ness)

The Gravy - Series One, Episode Four (Tigilau Ness)

Anti-apartheid protestor Tigilau Ness features

Thumbnail image for Land of a Thousand Lovers

Land of a Thousand Lovers

A documentary about the land protests of 1976

Thumbnail image for Revolution - 1, Fortress New Zealand

Revolution - 1, Fortress New Zealand

Documentary on NZ politics during this period

Thumbnail image for Men of the Silver Fern - Power, Politics and Professionalism (1978 - 1992)

Men of the Silver Fern - Power, Politics and Professionalism (1978 - 1992)

Documentary on NZ rugby which includes the 1981 tour

Thumbnail image for All Blacks for Africa - A Black and White Issue

All Blacks for Africa - A Black and White Issue

The first post-apartheid NZ rugby tour to South Africa

Thumbnail image for The Garlick Thrust

The Garlick Thrust

A drama set during the 1981 Springbok Tour

Thumbnail image for Riot Squad

Riot Squad

Music video from the same era

Thumbnail image for Hotere

Hotere

Another documentary from director Merata Mita

Thumbnail image for Men of the Silver Fern - Towards the Grand Slam (1957 - 1978)

Men of the Silver Fern - Towards the Grand Slam (1957 - 1978)

All Blacks versus Springboks 1957 - 1978

Thumbnail image for Seven Days: South Africa - The Black Future

Seven Days: South Africa - The Black Future

Apartheid's impact on blacks in South Africa

Thumbnail image for Seven Days: South Africa - The White Future

Seven Days: South Africa - The White Future

A visit to apartheid-era South Africa

Thumbnail image for Loading Docs 2019 - Mana Wahine

Loading Docs 2019 - Mana Wahine

Short documentary about a protest leader at Ihumātao

Thumbnail image for Mururoa 1973

Mururoa 1973

Film on 1973 anti-French nuclear testing protests

Thumbnail image for The Game of Our Lives - Home and Away

The Game of Our Lives - Home and Away

A series looking at NZ social history through rugby

Thumbnail image for Mauri

Mauri

Another film directed by Merata Mita

Thumbnail image for Syd Jackson: Life and Times of a Fully Fledged Activist

Syd Jackson: Life and Times of a Fully Fledged Activist

Documentary on late Ngā Tamatoa activist Syd Jackson

Thumbnail image for Loose Enz - The Protesters

Loose Enz - The Protesters

Drama set immediately after the Springbok tour

Thumbnail image for Koha - Nga Pikitia Māori

Koha - Nga Pikitia Māori

Merata Mita features in this Koha special on Māori film

Thumbnail image for Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather

Music inspired by the tour protests

Thumbnail image for Old Scores

Old Scores

A film about an All Blacks Wales rugby match

Thumbnail image for There is No Depression in New Zealand

There is No Depression in New Zealand

Springbok Tour era protest song

Thumbnail image for Loading Docs 2018 - The Cube of Truth

Loading Docs 2018 - The Cube of Truth

More activism

Thumbnail image for Keskidee Aroha

Keskidee Aroha

More consciousness raising from Merata Mita

Thumbnail image for 50 Years of New Zealand Television: 2 - The Whole World's Watching

50 Years of New Zealand Television: 2 - The Whole World's Watching

Documentary about protest in Aotearoa

Thumbnail image for One Network News - Protest (2 January 1995)

One Network News - Protest (2 January 1995)

An on screen protest

Thumbnail image for Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen

Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen

A film about Patu! director Merata Mita

Thumbnail image for Koha - Mauri

Koha - Mauri

The making of Merata Mita's film Mauri

Thumbnail image for Uproar

Uproar

Coming of age drama set during 1981 anti-tour protests

Thumbnail image for The Maintenance of Silence

The Maintenance of Silence

More early 1980s political activism

Thumbnail image for The Friday Conference - Abraham Ordia interview

The Friday Conference - Abraham Ordia interview

Abraham Ordia campaigned against apartheid in sport

Thumbnail image for The Test

The Test

100 years of All Black tests

Thumbnail image for Te Pahū

Te Pahū

Another documentary from Merata Mita

Thumbnail image for Native Affairs - Series 11, Episode Three

Native Affairs - Series 11, Episode Three

A Native Affairs celebration of protest

Thumbnail image for Tagata Tangata 6 - Ngāi Tātou / Family (Episode Six)

Tagata Tangata 6 - Ngāi Tātou / Family (Episode Six)

More on protest movements in the Pacific

Thumbnail image for Mothers of the Revolution

Mothers of the Revolution

Trailer for a film on 1980s peace activists in England

Thumbnail image for High Tide Don't Hide

High Tide Don't Hide

Documentary about young Kiwi eco protesters

Thumbnail image for River of Freedom

River of Freedom

Documentary on the 2022 mandate protests at parliament

Thumbnail image for By the Balls

By the Balls

Documentary on a rebel rugby tour of South Africa

Thumbnail image for Mercury Lane, Series One, Episode Seven

Mercury Lane, Series One, Episode Seven

Interview with Merata Mita in this arts series

Thumbnail image for Good Morning - Merata Mita Tribute

Good Morning - Merata Mita Tribute

Merata Mita's colleagues pay tribute to her

Thumbnail image for Dread

Dread

Another documentary from director Merata Mita

Thumbnail image for Marae - Aurere (Merata Mita)

Marae - Aurere (Merata Mita)

Friends and colleagues pay tribute to Patu! director...

Thumbnail image for Pākiri: The Filmmaker, the Cook & the Singer

Pākiri: The Filmmaker, the Cook & the Singer

Features an interview with filmmaker Merata Mita

Thumbnail image for Women - Māori Women in a Pākehā World - Nga Wahine Māori i Roto i te ao Pākehā

Women - Māori Women in a Pākehā World - Nga Wahine Māori i Roto i te ao Pākehā

Merata Mita appears in this documentary