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Merata Mita is a significant filmmaker in New Zealandmarker as well as a key figure in the growth of the Maori screen industry. Mita is from the Maori tribes of Ngati Pikiao and Ngai Te Rangi.


Mita is the first woman in New Zealand to write and direct a dramatic feature film, Mauri (1988). An accomplished documentary director and producer for more than 25-years, Mita made landmark documentary films such as Patu! (1983) about the violent clashes between anti-apartheid protesters and the police during the controversial 1981 South African Springboks rugby tours in New Zealand. and 'Bastion Point:Day 507' (1980) about the eviction of the Ngati Whatua Maori people from their traditional land. 'Hotere' (2001) documented the life and work of well-known Maori artist Ralph Hotere. She also directed the music video 'Waka' for hip hop artist Che Fu.


Mita was born in the small town of Maketu in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand's North Island. She was the third eldest of nine children and had a traditional rural Maori upbringing. She taught at the Kawerau College for eight years followed by a lengthy career in the film and television industry.


Mita played the role of 'Matu' in the New Zealand feature film Utu directed by Geoff Murphy, starring Anzac Wallace and featuring veteran Maori actor Wi Kuki Kaa. She also acted in the television adaptation of 'The Protesters' written by Rowley Habib.

Documentary on Mita's work

In 1998, Mita herself became the subject of a documentary in the television series 'Rangatira:Merata Mita - Making Waves,' directed by Hinewehi Mohi.

"A documentary about pioneering Maori filmmaker Merata Mita whose career has spanned 20 years and whose films represent a unique account of New Zealand social and political history." New Zealand Listener


Mita has directed or collaborated on numerous films including;

  • Hotere (2001
  • Dread (1996)
  • The Shooting of Dominick Kaiwhata (1993)
  • Mana Waka (1990)
  • Mauri (1988)
  • Patu! (1983)
  • The Bridge: A Story of Men in Dispute (1982)
  • Bastion Point: Day 507 (1980)
  • Keskidee Aroha (1980)
  • Karanga Hokianga Ki O Tamariki (1979)
  • The Hammer and the Anvil (1979)


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