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Witarina Harris, QSM
Ngāti Whakaue, Te Arawa
Witarina Te Miriarangi Parewahaika Mitchell is New Zealand’s original movie star. In 1929, she starred in Universal Pictures’ Under the Southern Cross, but she chose not to pursue a career in Hollywood.
Living to the grand age of 101, Witarina Harris had an illustrious career, not only as a film star, but also as a founding member of the Māori Women’s Welfare League and Ngāti Pōneke Young Māori Club.
Harris also worked for Māori Affairs Minister Sir Apirana Ngata, was the Kaumātua for the New Zealand Film Archive for many years and, in 1986, she received a QSM for Community Services.
In this excerpt from Women in the Frame, Witarina Harris looks back on her time as a film star and her work as Kaumātua for the New Zealand Film Archive.
Image: Screengrab: Frontline: Women in the Frame.
Catalogue Reference F21073
Director: Phil Wallington
Presenter: Ross Stevens