Ahua : Māori in Film
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis draws together three strands for analysis: the social, political and historical narrative of race-relations, which has framed Måori subjectivity in the 20th and early 21st century. The themes identified are namely, the politics of representation of Måori subjectivity from extinction, to assimilation and then to biculturalism in film in eight New Zealand films: Rewi’s Last Stand (1925/40), Broken Barrier (1952), To Love a Maori (1972), Utu (1983), Ngati (1987), Mauri (1988), Once Were Warriors (1994) and Whale Rider (2002). While this claim has its roots in some of the earlier New Zealand films, the primary area of analysis will be upon the fundamental shift from 1985 onwards on the representation and interpretation of Måori subjectivity. It is argued that this fundamental shift is influenced by two significant developments in the New Zealand context: namely the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process and the State’s adoption of the socio-political ideology of biculturalism in which to theorise race-relations.