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“....The Kaipara Affair, Barry Barclay’s provocative yet often lyrical examination of the threat posed to the Kaipara Harbour by rapacious commercial fishing and development, is the work of a man who took his time. He lived for almost three years in the small settlement of Tinopai on the harbour’s north side, getting to know the story he wanted to tell and winning the confidence of the people he needed to talk to. And he eases the viewer in slowly, too: we’re 26 minutes into the film before the issue that everyone’s been skirting around is precisely spelled out.

The payoff is remarkable. The Kaipara Affair is a document of urgent importance to a nation still too easily inflamed by the rhetoric of politicians who rail against race-based privilege. It’s a sobering reminder of the damage still be caused to the natural environment by heedless development which seeks to use the hinterland simply as a playground for city-dwellers. It’s a chilling indictment of the ponderousness of a centralised bureaucracy whose protocols demand endless consultation and expert reports when locals are calling for action and leadership. And it’s a timely and lucid reminder of the principles of tino rangitiratanga and the obligations contained in the Treaty of Waitangi.

Like all the best documentaries, The Kaipara Affair has a main character who is irresistibly watchable. Plenty of people, Māori and Pākehā, make it plain that they’ve had their differences with Mikaera Miru over the years – although, interestingly, even his ancient enemies speak in his defence here because of what he is trying to do. We see instantly that he can be pig-headed, rude and unlikeable when he wants to be, but his passion and clarity and his dedication to his mission to save the harbour drag us headlong through the story.” Peter Calder;; 10/08/2006

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Year 2006

Reference number F93757

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Feature

Duration 2:13:00

Production company He Taonga Films

Taonga Māori Collection Yes

Credits Producer: Don Charles Selwyn
Screenplay: Barry Barclay (Ngāti Apa)
Photography: Fred Renata
Editor: Davorin Fahn
Sound: Dick Reade
Music: Stephen McCurdy

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