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Tangata Whenua - Waikato Television – 1974 Documentary Te Reo Māori

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Tangata Whenua was a groundbreaking six part documentary series. Barry Barclay directed and historian Michael King was writer, interviewer and narrator. Each episode (remarkably screening in primetime on Sunday nights in 1974) chronicled a different iwi and included interviews with kaumatua  a first for NZ screens. This episode looks at the people of Waikato, and focuses on the Kingitanga (King Movement), illustrating why a movement formed in the Waikato in the 19th century to halt land sales and promote Māori authority has contemporary relevance.

Tangata Whenua broke the monocultural mould of New Zealand television. It gave Māori an opportunity to speak for themselves about their lives. It went some way to informing Pākehā New Zealanders about Māori attitudes and values, it whetted a Māori audience's appetite for more documentaries reflecting Māori viewpoints, and it opened the way for later programmes, such as Koha and Te Karere, produced by Māori.
– Michael King, in Being Pākehā Now

Produced by

Pacific Films


The makers of the programme acknowledged at the time, "Queen Te Atairangikaahu and the Waikato elders who authorised this programme also Waaka Kukutai, Turangawaewae Waiata Group, Turangawaewae Carving School, Morrinsville College Principal and staff".

This programme features (in order of appearance): Tumokai Katipa, Piri Poutapu, the elders and workers of Tauranganui Poukai, Ripora Kukutai, Whitiora Cooper, Winera Samuels, Tony Knight, Hopi Samuels, Norman Kingsbury, Te Uira Manihera, Dick Green, Waikato Elders who attended the Tauranganui Poukai.