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NZFC Acknowledges The Passing Of Merata Mita

Press Release – New Zealand Film Commission

It is with much sadness that the New Zealand Film Commission acknowledges the passing of respected Māori filmmaker Merata Mita. NZFC Acknowledges The Passing Of Merata Mita

It is with much sadness that the New Zealand Film Commission acknowledges the passing of respected Māori filmmaker Merata Mita.

Merata began her filmmaking career in 1977. She was a fiercely political documentary filmmaker, directing and co-directing films while also reporting and presenting for the Māori television news show Koha. Merata’s acclaimed documentary Patu! documented the violence between protestors and police during the 1981 Springbok tour. Patu! was described by Listener reviewer Peter Wells, as “the hottest documentary ever made in New Zealand” and screened internationally at numerous film festivals. In 1988 Merata wrote, directed and produced her first dramatic feature, Mauri, winning a best prize award at Italy’s Rimini Film Festival.

Merata recently returned to New Zealand after many years spent working and teaching in the United States. She was a script advisor for the Sundance Film Institute and lectured on film at the University of Hawaii. Most recently she has been a driving force behind Te Paepae Ataata, the New Zealand Film Commission/Nga Aho Whakaari development initiative to foster and encourage Māori film written, produced and directed by Māori.

Earlier this year, Merata was awarded the CNZM (Companion of the Order of New Zealand Merit), for her services to the Film Industry.

NZFC CEO, Graeme Mason, said “Merata’s impact on the NZ film industry and indigenous film making has been profound. Her generous mentoring and dedicated friendship and support has encouraged and inspired many emerging filmmakers. Her passing will leave a huge gap within the New Zealand filmmaking community.”

Other films Merata Mita directed or collaborated on are: Karanga Hokianga Ki O Tamariki (1979); The Hammer and the Anvil (1979); Keskidee Aroha (1980); Bastion Point: Day 507 (1980); The Bridge: A Story of Men in Dispute (1982); The Shooting of Dominick Kaiwhata (1993); and Mana Waka (1990); Hotere (2001); The Land Has Eyes (2004); Spooked (2004); Keao (2008); Boy (2010).

ENDS

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