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“A picture of the extent to which prejudice persists in a country which has accepted racial equality as a principle. The film has clearly been influenced by documentary techniques, both in style of photography (at times very pleasant notably in some of the city scenes) and in detailed attention given to the scenes of sheep shearing, tree felling, a cattle round up, the Maori tribal customs and so on. Presumably for financial reasons, the film has no synchronised dialogue, but a commentary supplied by the various characters.” - PH, Monthly Film Bulletin (UK), July 1952

“Tom Sullivan, a young Pakeha journalist researching a series of exploitative, tabloid articles on "the" Maori people becomes a casual labourer on a Mahia Peninsular farm. The emotional liaison he forms with Rawi, a young Maori woman exposes the racism engendered by the particular social attitudes and expectations of that time. Where BROKEN BARRIER looks toward the romantic integration of "light and dark" as a resolution of the personal and political issues of Maori/Pakeha relations, this deceptively naïve response need not be dismissed as being dated and one-dimensional. Even if the contemporary assertion of Maori aspiration and search for meaningful self-determination seems justly strident, BROKEN BARRIER's significance should be regarded in historical context. For in its time BROKEN BARRIER did represent a remarkable achievement in the consciousness raising of New Zealand public that widely refused to acknowledge the existence of racial inequity, discrimination and denial. Because, as BROKEN BARRIER gently describes, with characteristic humour, humanity and art, "he iwi kotahi tatou" – in those days we certainly were not.”- Cushla Parekowhai, The New Zealand Film Archive, 1988

“During the lean years between 1940 and 1964, this was the only [indigenous] feature to be made in New Zealand. By the mid 1980s, however, the original negative had been lost and the duplicate negative held by the British distributor was destroyed. The only 35mm print still in existence was a used distribution print, severely water damaged along the edge of the frame over the first 1500 feet. After repairs and consultations with John O’Shea, optical adjustments were made to the picture area through this section. A preservation negative was then made and a release print taken from this negative.” - Jonathan Dennis, 17th Wellington Film Festival, 1988.

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Year 1952

Reference number F9991

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Feature

Duration 1:11:00

Production company PACIFIC FILMS

Available at Medianet sites

Location information

Taonga Māori Collection Yes

Credits Cast: Kay Ngārimu
Cast: Terence Bayler
Cast: Mira Hape
Cast: Bill Merito
Cast: George Ormond
Cast: Lily Te Nahu
Cast: Dorothy Tansley
Cast: F W French
Producer: John O'Shea
Director: Roger Mirams
Director: John O'Shea
Director of Photography: Roger Mirams
Sound: Ian Houston
Writer: John O'Shea
Music: Sydney John Kay
Maori Advisor: Bill Parker
Dialogue: William Moloney
Producer: Roger Mirams

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