Merata Mita
Stories & Ideas

Wed 25 Jan 2023

Power in the Collective: The key works of Merata Mita

Film Melbourne Cinémathèque Retrospective
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Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society

Notes for the 26 July 2023 Melbourne Cinémathèque program.

As a key campaigner for Māori creative control in the film industry, Merata Mita (1941–2010) was the force behind an expansive body of work including the first fiction feature to be written and directed by a woman in Aotearoa New Zealand: Mauri (1988). As director, producer, writer and actor, Mita’s ground-breaking influence on the film and television industries in Aotearoa New Zealand from the 1970s onwards cannot be overstated.

In the latter part of her career and life, Mita directed Hotere (2001), an impressionistic feature-length portrait of one of the country’s most important artists, and was a producer behind Taika Waititi’s Boy (2010). She was also the subject of her son’s celebrated documentary, Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen (Hepi Mita, 2018). While her films often screened internationally in the years immediately after their completion, they had been increasingly difficult to see in cinemas prior to a series of recent restorations. This special one-night focus features three of Mita’s most striking, urgent and important works of fiction and documentary covering the crucial period of the 1980s.


Power in the Collective: The key works of Merata Mita

Patu! (1983) – Wed 26 Jul, 7pm
Mauri (1988) – Wed 26 Jul, 9.10pm

Person laying on sand, with their face reflected in a puddle

Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven. 

Learn more | View the 2023 program | See membership options