This Material has not been digitally preserved and is available for viewing purposes only. Any other access use will require digital preservation and may also require rights clearances.
Rudall Hayward’s first feature film, MY LADY OF THE CAVE, is a romantic drama set in the Bay of Plenty during the 1890s and is based on the newspaper serial of the same name published in weekly instalments in The New Zealand Herald between September 1921 and February 1922.
The film opens with the hero on board outward-bound timber scow ‘The Empress’. He is soon lost overboard and is washed up on an island. Using real time and flashbacks, the story unfolds.
During one of Te Kooti’s raids on Poverty Bay a settler family by the name of Trite is wiped out after they unwittingly break a tapu. A girl child, Beryl, survives and is rescued by Rau, a ‘friendly’ Maori who is made mute during the attack. Rau raises her in isolation on an island where she grows into a beautiful young woman. Washed up on the island the hero soon discovers the ‘lady of the cave.’ He also stumbles upon a gang of moonshiners and only just manages to escape in a small boat supplied by Beryl. Unable to forget his lady of the cave he returns to rescue her and to catch the moonshiners. Rau is shot during a shoot-out with the moonshiners, on his death bed he hands over a small box which contains the information connecting Beryl to the Trite family.
Beryl is reintroduced to settler society and the film ends happily with her marriage to the hero.