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This good humoured, deeply fanciful mock documentary about a land claim has a distinctively Cantabrian flavour. The 2005 discovery of a cannonball buried for 138 years in a paddock throws Waimate into turmoil. It’s all some locals need to confirm their long-held belief that local Māori were forcibly removed from their tribal lands in a bloody battle in the winter of 1866. The town is divided as a hotly contested claim eventually ends up in the District Court. Cameraman Dave is embedded with George Kepa (Jim Moriarty) and his whānau – for whom the concept of ‘behind closed doors’ does not seem to exist: we’re privy to their every desperate strategy. This ‘vérité’ footage is intercut with candid interviews with townspeople, including the farmer at the centre of the dispute and with the crucial courtroom drama. Mark Hadlow and David McPhail provide expert caricatures of the white man’s law – and a good many other cast members appear to be having just as much fun playing themselves. Helen Pearse-Otene lends gravity as George’s niece whose legal training is sorely challenged in the fray. "This is an inspiring work. It’s as if the camera left the film-set for a bit and came out right amongst us. That’s exactly what we were seeking to achieve with Ngati." – Barry Barclay; New Zealand Film Festival, 2006]

“With good jest, this disarming rural [mockumentary] unravels the story of a group of local Waimate Māori contesting the ownership of tribal land after discovering a 138-year-old cannonball in a Canterbury paddock. While those of a legally minded disposition may have problems with its accuracy, and the genre elements seem a little awkward, this is a rather enjoyable wee debut for writer/director Stefen Lewis, with a winning performance by Jim Moriarty as the family head.” - Aro Video;

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Year 2006

Reference number F101573

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Feature

Duration 1:41:31

Production company Dark Horse Productions

Location information

Taonga Māori Collection Yes

Credits Writer: Stephen Lewis
Producer: Stephen Lewis
Editor: Natalie Glubb
Music: Mika
Music: Richard Nunns
Music: Hirini Melbourne
Music: Tane Upjohn-Beatson
Cast: Jim Moriarty
Cast: Helen Pearse-Otene
Cast: Powley Pearse-Otene
Cast: David McPhail
Cast: Mark Hadlow
Cast: Janice Gray

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