Director Merata Mita
Producer Merata Mita
Editor Annie Collins
Sound Gerd Pohimann
Cinematography Photography - Barry Harbert; Additional Photography - Warrick Attewell, Alister Barry, Alun Bollinger, Roger Donaldson, Euan Frizzell, Leon Narbey
Contributors Co-ordinators - Gaylene Preston, Gerd Pohlmann, Martyn Sanderson
Perhaps the most important documentary made in New Zealand, Patu! is a hard-hitting view from the frontline of protests that engulfed the country during the 1981 Springbok Tour. Directed by Merata Mita, the footage was supplied by a 'who’s who' of New Zealand cinema. The result is a powerful example of agitprop and oppositional filmmaking, from a staunchly anti-racist and Māori perspective.
As the film so clearly shows, the people filming the action were always at risk of violence from police and pro-tour supporters, and Mita was harassed by police during the editing of the film. Despite these difficulties, the film was released in 1983 and it’s significance has been recognised with its inscription on the UNESCO Memory of the World register.
"The most controversial, and the most contested, event in recent New Zealand history was the 1981 South African rugby tour. Half the country was opposed to the tour, the establishment was determined the tour would go ahead, and the result was a country divided against itself almost to the point of civil war. This incredible documentary shows what happened. The actual filming was both dangerous and difficult and attempts were made to have the negatives confiscated ...[Mita’s] achievement is as impressive technically as it is effective emotionally. A major documentary of our time.” – London Film Festival
"Many people gave their time, money and equipment to see Patu! completed, and it could never have been done otherwise. I was asked repeatedly if I thought I was the right person to make the film, or why I was making it. The reason I was asked the question was that some people told me they feared that the film would not be accurate because it would have a Māori perspective! The Pākehā bias in all things recorded in Aotearoa was never questioned. The other reason they gave was that my politics extended no further than the Māori and the marae, and was I sure I understood the international ramifications of the tour. Yes, Patu! has a Māori perspective but it does not override the mass mobilisation of New Zealand’s white middle class, neither does it take credit from those who rightly deserve it, everyone who put themselves on the line. My perspective encourages people to look at themselves and examine the ground they stand on, while fighting racial injustice thousands of miles across the sea." – Merata Mita
Screening in support of the exhibition From the Shore on at Pātaka Art + Museum until 21 July 2019.