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A documentary on US director Alexander Markey and the making of HEI TIKI (1935).

Eight members of the Bradshaw family and friends watch their mother for the first time as the young Māori woman in the film HEI TIKI. As a 16 year old from Rotorua, Ngāwara Kereti (Te Arawa) was chosen by Markey to play the lead role of Mara and Ben Biddle as Manui (Ngāti Tūwharetoa).

A large contingent of Whanganui River people were taken by John Murray to Waihi near Tokaanu, Taupō as extras for the film. Nepia Nikorama recalls with regret, his parent’s disapproval of his taking part in the film. Two full-scale model pā were erected on the shores of Waihi and production was underway in February 1930. A £10,000 budget by New Zealand investors went into the production.

Alfred Hill, a Māori music composer, was invited on location to write the film score, but left before filming was completed.

Jimmy Eru, an extra, Henry Hope-Cross, camera assistant, Margaret Goulding, assistant cook and Ted Coubray recall the hardships and disagreements the crew endured with Markey throughout the filming.

Markey and his assistant left for America the day after filming, leaving behind debts and taking with them precious taonga (greenstone artefacts, korowai etc.) lent by Māori families for use during filming.

Key people mentioned: Ngāwara Kereti (Te Arawa), Ben Biddle (Ngāti Tūwharetoa),Te Puea Herangi (Kahui Ariki,Waikato), Hoani Te Heuheu (Ngāti Tūwharetoa), Te Puataata Alfred Grace (Ngāti Tūwharetoa), William Te Heuheu Grace (Ngāti Tūwharetoa),

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Year 1985

Reference number F6480

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Television

Duration 0:51:04

Production company Phase Three Film Productions

Viewing locations Digital file available to view at medialibrary, Wellington

Taonga Māori Collection Yes

Credits Writer: Geoff Steven
Director: Geoff Steven
Producer: John Maynard
Narration: Martyn Sanderson
Research: Julienne Stretton
Photography: Alan Locke
Editing: Alfred West
Additional Photography: Hamdant Milas
Sound Recording: Don Reynolds
Sound Mixing: Neil Newcombe
Guitar: Lindsay Marks

Related Link NZ ON Screen