New Zealand Cinema (Book)

Interpreting the Past


Alistair Fox holds a personal chair in the Department of English and is director of the Centre for Research on National Identity at the University of Otago.

Barry Keith Grant is professor of film studies and popular culture at Brock University.

Hilary Radner is foundation professor of film and media studies at the University of Otago.

Introduction: The Historical Film in New Zealand Cinema – Alistair Fox, Barry Keith Grant and Hilary Radner
Chapter 1: Rudall Hayward and the Cinema of Maoriland: Genre-mixing and Counter-discourses in Rewi’s Last Stand (1925), The Te Kooti Trail (1927) and Rewi's Last Stand/The Last Stand (1940) – Alistair Fox
Chapter 2: Rudall Hayward's Democratic Cinema and the "Civilising Mission" in the "Land of the Wrong White Crowd" – Jeanette Hoorn and Michelle Smith
Chapter 3: The Western, New Zealand History and Commercial Exploitation: The Te Kooti Trail, Utu and Crooked Earth – Harriet Margolis
Chapter 4: Unsettled Historiography: Postcolonial Anxiety and the Burden of the Past in Pictures – Cherie Lacey
Chapter 5: Cross-currents: River Queen’s National and Trans-national Heritages – Olivia Macassey
Chapter 6: Tracking Tītokowaru over Text and Screen: Pākehā Narrate the Warrior, 1906–2005 – Annabel Cooper
Chapter 7: Rites of Passage in Post–Second World War New Zealand Cinema: Migrating the Masculine in Journey for Three (1950) – Simon Sigley
Chapter 8: Cinema and the Interpretation of 1950s New Zealand History: John O’Shea and Roger Mirams, Broken Barrier (1952) – Barbara Brookes
Chapter 9: Re-representing Indigeneity: Approaches to History in Some Recent New Zealand and Australian Films – Janet Wilson
Chapter 10: “The Donations of History”: Mauri and the Transfigured “Māori Gaze”: Towards a Bi-national Cinema in Aotearoa – Bruce Harding
Chapter 11: History, Hybridity and Indeterminate Space: The Parker-Hulme Murder, Heavenly Creatures and New Zealand Cinema – Alison L. McKee
Chapter 12: Screening Women’s Histories: Jane Campion and the New Zealand Heritage Film, from the Biopic to the Female Gothic – Hilary Radner
Chapter 13: The Time and the Place: Music and Costume and the “Affect” of History in the New Zealand Films of Jane Campion – Estella Tincknell
Chapter 14: Mining for Forgotten Gold: Leon Narbey’s Illustrious Energy (1987) – Bruce Babington

'“[T]he space in which historical and cinematic narratives intersect remains an insufficiently examined but potentially fecund area of study.” (Reid Perkins cited on p. 16) The remarkable success of New Zealand cinema is all the more impressive for its relatively brief course. The “new wave” of this national cinema dates back to just the late 1970s. Some such as Ian Conrich have also identified a Second Wave in the 1990s when new filmmakers emerged to produce highly accomplished celluloid works that circulated widely and captured the imagination of a global audience: Once Were Warriors (Lee Tamahori, 1994), The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993), Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994) and An Angel at My Table (Jane Campion, 1990), amongst others. The Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson, 2001-2003) series has been pre-eminent among New Zealand feature films that have produced what Alfio Leotta, amongst others, refers to as the phenomenon of “film-induced tourism” (1). Before the late 1970s a feature film industry scarcely existed in New Zealand. Indeed, in the 1950s and ’60s film production, such as it was, existed almost entirely under the auspices of the National Film Unit (NFU), and obeyed the strictures of documentary realism and state ideology by churning out picturesque and idyllic stories featuring the landscape. To emphatically illustrate this point it is worth noting that Roger Mirams (who left the NFU in 1947 to form the independent Pacific Film Unit) and John O’Shea produced the only truly New Zealand feature film (Broken Barrier, 1952) to be made between 1940 and 1964. It is no accident that Broken Barrier – discussed in this volume by historian Barbara Brookes – addresses bicultural relations as this theme has long been a key concern of New Zealand cultural producers and mythmakers. Read the full review at Senses of Cinema,' – James Bennett

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