In honour of Te Wiki o Te Reo Maōri and 125years Sufferage movement in New Zealand – a fitting set of circumstances to host the showing of Hepi Mita’s film tribute to his mother Merata Mita – How Mum Decolonised the Screen.
It was a raw and honest story about a woman who believed in herself, who defended the right of Māori activism to be portrayed fairly, and who was a loving mother that worked hard for her whānau and what she believed in.
There were compelling moments of the film that showed the 1981 Springbok Tour, the 1984 Hīkoi and Bastion Point and the conflict that arose at that time. I couldn’t help thinking that while we have come along way, the longstanding aspiration of Māori sovereignty, upholding the principles of the Treaty as we strive to create a fair, just and decent society are clear touchstones that will not diminish or change.
An opening tribute was given by world-renown actor Cliff Curtis who credited Merata Mita as a pioneer and mentor of many actors and producers in the film industry including himself. And so it is, the early movies of Patu, Mauri to the next generation of films such as Boy, Thor Ragnarok and Star Wars, ka nui te mihi atu ki a koe e te māreikura – e kore e warewaretia.