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Broken Barrier

Broken Barrier

Director Roger Mirams, John O'Shea

Producer Roger Mirams, John O'Shea

Screenplay John O'Shea

With Kay Ngārimu, Terence Bayler, Mira Hape, Bill Merito, George Ormond.

The story of Tom Sullivan, a young Pakeha journalist researching a series of exploitative, tabloid articles on "the" Māori people who becomes a casual labourer on a Mahia Peninsular farm. The emotional liaison he forms with Rawi, a young Māori woman exposes the racism engendered by the particular social attitudes and expectations of that time.

"Broken Barrier's significance should be regarded in historical context. For in its time Broken Barrier did represent a remarkable achievement in the consciousness raising of New Zealand public that widely refused to acknowledge the existence of racial inequity, discrimination and denial. Because, as Broken Barrier gently describes, with characteristic humour, humanity and art, "he iwi kotahi tatou" – in those days we certainly were not.” Cushla Parekowhai, The New Zealand Film Archive, 1988

“During the lean years between 1940 and 1964, this was the only [indigenous] feature to be made in New Zealand. By the mid 1980s, however, the original negative had been lost and the duplicate negative held by the British distributor was destroyed. The only 35mm print still in existence was a used distribution print, severely water damaged along the edge of the frame over the first 1500 feet. After repairs and consultations with John O’Shea, optical adjustments were made to the picture area through this section. A preservation negative was then made and a release print taken from this negative.” Jonathan Dennis, 17th Wellington Film Festival, 1988.

This Matariki screening is to support the exhibition “Wāhine: Beyond the Dusky Maiden” at Turnbull Gallery, 6 June-25 August, 2017.