100 years ago – Hinemoa

This month marks 100 years since the release of Hinemoa, New Zealand’s first feature film.

Hinemoa premiered at Auckland’s Lyric Theatre in August 1914 – it opened the first week of World War I.

The film was shot in Rotorua. Impressively, it was completed in 8 days, on a budget of £50.

The film was a massive box office success at the time, but unfortunately no footage survives today.

We are able to gleam a sense of the film’s visual style from the promotional materials, housed in the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Documentation Collection.

Hera Tawhai Rogers in the role of Hinemoa. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Documentation Collection.
Hera Tawhai Rogers in the role of Hinemoa. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Documentation Collection.

Below is a 1962 radio interview with director George Tarr. He remembers making, editing and securing a theatrical release for the film (he was offered the same terms as Antony and Cleopatra).

 

A radio interview with Hera Tawhai Rogers, who starred as Hinemoa, follows (also from 1962). She recalls her role, her costumes, adventures shooting on location, and all of the swimming her character was required to do!

 

Archival audio from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Any re-use of these audio clips is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recordings, contact us.