Ngati - Pātaka Art + Museum


Director Barry Barclay

Producer John O'Shea

Screenplay Tama Poata

With Tuta Ngarimu Tamati (Uncle Eru), Ngawai Harrison (Hine), Wi Kuki Kaa (Iwi), Oliver Jones (Ropata), Judy McIntosh (Jenny Bennet)

Cinematography Director of Photography - Rory O'Shea

Filmed on location in the small communities from Tolaga Bay to Ruatoria on the East Coast, Ngati is the first New Zealand feature film ever written and directed by Māori.

A drama of Māori and Pākehā families, Ngati shows how people in a Māori community cope with personal and public crises which threaten to disrupt their lives and traditional ways. Ngati is set in the tiny Māori community of Kapua on the East Cape in 1948. Change is in the air; the old freezing works, the district’s main employer, is clearly on the brink of closure. The town’s concern is equally focused on Ropata, the twelve-year-old son of Iwi and Hine, who is very ill. Iwi places more faith in the healing powers of the tohunga than in the local Pākehā doctor, Paul Bennett. A young Australian, Greg Shaw, visits Dr Bennett and his wife Sam. As he becomes involved in the different ways Māori and Pākehā face crisis in their everyday life, and death, he suddenly discovers he has stronger ties to the community than he expected.

“It’s about being Māori - and that is political [...] political in the way it was made, a serious attempt to have Māori attitudes control the film. Political in having as many Māori as possible on it or being trained on it. Political in physically distributing the film or speaking about it and showing the film in our own way. Political in going in the face of a long tradition in the film industry here and abroad saying these simple things, without car chases or without a rape scene, actually have appeal, maybe it won’t work... I think a lot of the political struggle is to get through to Pākehās and Pākehā institutions that this is the way we think, therefore change your manners. This is the Māori world, take it or leave it...” – Barry Barclay in, Rongotai Lomas, “A First for the Maori Ngati”, Illusions, no.5, 1987

Screening in support of the exhibition From the Shore on at Pātaka Art + Museum until 21 July 2019