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// The Māori-Made Collection - Distribution

The Māori-Made Collection - Distribution


Documentary Futurism

Cinema Politica is proud to be the distributor of six exceptional films from New Zealand never before distributed in Canada. Below you can read about the collection, learn about the films and importantly—book films from this important, exclusive collection for a screening in your community or at your festival/institution today!


Back in 2017 some of us at Cinema Politica tried to find the ground-breaking film Mauri by Merata Mita on line for streaming. We had heard of this Māori gem, the first female-directed Indigenous fiction feature, and wanted to rent or purchase it, but soon discovered it was not available in Canada. After contacting the New Zealand Film Commission, we soon agreed on a partnership where CP would distribute six Māori-made titles from the NZFC's rich filmography (along with one non-Māori director), MAURI among those we would make available for the first time in Canada. We are beyond thrilled that after much hard work we are releasing the following outstanding Māori films online and beyond! Among the complex, provocative and stunning titles below, audiences will discover works by Barry Barclay, the Māori artist and intellectual who coined the term "Fourth Cinema" and who said the following words: "How can we take that maverick yet fond friend of ours—the camera—into the Maori community and be confident it will act with dignity?" (Our Own Image, 1990).

In this collection, released in collaboration with the New Zealand Film Commission, Cinema Politica is confident the dignity of the Māori lens and the depth of Barclay's "Fourth Cinema" will shine through and not disappoint. Aotearoa, or what is also known as New Zealand, has enjoyed ample screen time through the machinations of Hollywood and mainstream cinema, but the "land of the long white cloud" is not only the place of hobbits and Kong. A long, rich history of Māori cinema has also captured the beauty, the complexity and the anguish of Aotearoa and the people who call it home. The country's most famous director, Taika Waititi, is of Māori descent, and while his classic Boy from 2010 isn't included in our offering, we do have two early comedic shorts from the director. While Mita and Barclay are founding figures of both Māori and Indigenous cinemas, we are delighted to also bring to Canadian audiences other less known, but equally deserving titles in this release, which explores colonization, identity, love, tradition, trauma, history and the future – sometimes in the same film.

Read up on all six titles below and follow the links to watch online today. We hope you cherish this taonga as much as we do, and keep an eye out for more to come!




Merata Mita / New Zealand / 1988 / 90 ' / English - Māori
With her first feature length fiction film, the co-founder of Indigenous cinema (along with Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin, who was a good friend of Mita’s) and champion of Māori art, culture and politics, Merata Mita announced herself as a cinematic force. Mauri’s rich and resplendant tapestry of green and orange hues, captured in lush cinematography of coastal hills, forests beaches and communities, belies the turmoil of the characters who call this east coast area home. Mauri, which means life force, probes the cultural and political tensions in characters searching for identity, love and belonging. Mita, quoted in Deborah Shepard’s 2000 book Reframing Women, had this to say: “It was a quietly satisfying moment to enter the theatre on the opening night of Mauri and see the pride of so many brown faces. I am very proud to have made something for us, so relentless and uncompromising, and for me it was another brief fulfilled.”.

Barry Barclay / New Zealand / 1987 / 93 ' / English
A boy is dying from leukemia; a young Australian doctor visits only to discover his hidden Māori heritage; the local freezing works are threatened to close down. Centered around the community of a small fictional Māori village in the late 1940s, this poignant film weaves together threads about friendship, love, and solidarity against the backdrop of the struggle for Indigenous sovereignty. // Acclaimed at Cannes in 1987, this iconic fiction film is the first feature ever written and directed by a Maori filmmaker. A celebration of Maori pride and heritage, NGATI calls for decolonization and the community's reappropriation of capitalist industries.

Barry Barclay / New Zealand / 1991 / 105 ' / English
A hundred years after the theft of three irreplaceable tribal carvings from New Zealand, two members of the Maori tribe decide it's time for ancient grievances to be put right. Rewi Marangai, a successful lawyer and Peter Huaka, a performance poet, favour different approaches to getting the carvings back home from Germany where they are stored in a museum. When Peter's plans go awry when his group breaks into the museum, Rewi persuades the others to let him put his own, more daring plan into action. Tensions build, and international media interest broadens, as bullets are fired in an anti-colonial standoff. Variously praised as a major step forward in Indigenous cinema, the film marked Barry Barclay’s impassioned follow-up to Ngati, and sees the prolific artist and writer plunging into issues of control and care of Indigenous culture. 

Himiona Grace / New Zealand / 2014 / 93 ' / English - Maori
Grace’s exploration of masculinity and Māori identity in The Pa Boys is full of passion, creativity and anguish. The film follows a fictional Raggae band as it tours Aotearoa and struggles to keep cohesion and community among its members. At the heart of this dramatic feature (which has its share of laughs as well) is a story about identity and the ways in which some internalize colonization and others find ways to expunge settler culture and identity by forging their own Māori identity that is connected with history and tradition. This dynamic is expressed in the two lead characters played by Fran Kora (from the band KORA) and Matariki Whatarau, who give captivating performances as musicians searching for meaning and place as Māori men. Strong directing is complemented in this road movie by outstanding music delivered from a talented cast throughout.

Two Cars, One NightTWO CARS, ONE NIGHT
Taika Waititi / New Zealand / 2004 / 11 ' / English
Set in the carpark of a rural pub in Tek Kaha, New Zealand, this award-winning short comedy from Taika Waititi tells the story of two brothers, Romeo and Ed, who wait in the car while their parents are inside drinking. Romeo spots Polly, an eleven-year-old girl who is also waiting for her parents in their car. Bored and restless he decides to make contact with the girl, and what at first seems to be a relationship based on rivalry soon develops, and the cross-car rivalry warms into a budding friendship. Waititi shows his genious for subtle humour and sweet innocence in this early film from the director of the equally funny and much bigger budgeted Thor: Ragnarok!

Taika Waititi / New Zealand / 2004 / 18 ' / English
Rifle in hand, six Māori soldiers are posted in a house in ruins facing a German stronghold. This is the beginning of their long, absurd and fearful wait, during which communication within the group is reduced to silent gestures, childish jokes, games with action figures, and mute haka challenges. In this early short, internationally renowned filmmaker Taika Waititi uses historical reconstitution to give humanity back to the Māori forced to join the Allied forces during the Second World War. Doubly coerced by the colonial system, Māori soldiers fight wars that are not theirs. And as such they respond with a form of resistance of their own: traditional knowledge, humor, and solidarity.

Click Here to Stream the Films Now! 


To obtain an educational or institutional license for MĀORI-MADE COLLECTION for an institution anywhere in Canada, click here and fill in the educational request form.


To book any or all of the films from the Māori-Made collection for a film festival, a grassroots screening or a community event, simply follow this link to our online booking form, or scroll to the bottom of this page where you'll find the form. We'll get back to you in a jiffy.




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