Episode 28: Patu! (1983)\Bastion Point: Day 507 (1980)

The 1981 Springbok rugby tour is one of the defining moments of recent New Zealand history, and Merata Mita’s Patu!, a document of the anti-tour protests, is a crucial snapshot of that moment. Hayden and L.J. look back at one of the great New Zealand documentaries and discuss technique, impact, and controversy. And to make it a Merata Mita double-feature they also watch Bastion Point: Day 507, an early short she co-directed with Gerd Pohlmann and Leon Narbey about the forced eviction of occupying protesters at Bastion Point in Auckland.

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Director and producer: Merata Mita
Co-ordinators: Gaylene Preston, Gerd Pohlmann, Martyn Sanderson
Photography: Barry Harbet
Additional photography: W. Attewell, C. Barrett, A. Barry, J. Bartle, A. Bollinger, P. Carvell, R. Donaldson, M. Fingel, E. Frizzell, C. Ghent, A. Guilford, R. Long, L. Narbey, R. Prosser, M. Single
Editor: Annie Collins
Music: Diatribe, Tia Kingi
Additional music: Syd Melbourne, Haruru Mai

Notes:

  • The easiest way to see Patu! is to stream it at NZ On Screen. A DVD is available from Filmshop, though we are unable to vouch for its quality. As for Bastion Point: Day 507, check out this list of Medianet access points around New Zealand.
  • NZ On Screen also has a short excerpt from an episode of Maori Television’s doco series Kete Aronui about Merata Mita, focusing on her experience making Bastion Point.
  • The history behind the 1981 tour proved too wide-ranging and complex to summarise in this episode. There’s plenty of information out there online (including a good concise summary at the NZHistory website) – for a deeper dive Hayden recommends Geoff Chapple’s book ‘1981: The Tour’ if you can track it down.
  • Bastion Point was restored by Ngā Taonga in 2016. This article about the restoration and subsequent screening at Ōrākei marae has a couple of short clips of the restored version.
  • If you want to know more about Merata Mita (and you do), the best starting point is probably her NZ On Screen biography.
  • Merata Mita’s influence in the medium of film extended far beyond New Zealand. From 2000-2009 she was an advisor and artistic director of the Sundance Institute NativeLab, and in 2016 the Institute announced the Merata Mita Fellowship. Ngā Taonga’s blog has an entry by Heperi Mita about his trip to represent his mother at the announcement ceremony.
  • The Wellywood Woman blog has a beautiful eulogy for Merata Mita that explores what an important figure she is in New Zealand cinema. Essential reading.
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