Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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“It came from me” – Māori representation in Ramai Te Miha Hayward’s authorship

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posted on 2021-12-09, 03:23 authored by Smith, Sian

Addressing the critical question of authorship in historical film, this thesis considers Ramai Te Miha Hayward’s works dealing with Māori and Pākehā intercultural representations. During a time when Māori in film were severely underrepresented, Te Miha Hayward prioritised Māori perspectives in The Arts of Maori Children (1962) and Eel History was a Mystery (1968), subversively critiquing the continuation of assimilationist integration policy. These contributions, and Te Miha Hayward’s extensive interviews and unpublished manuscripts, shed light on the change in intercultural representations between Rewi’s Last Stand (1940) and To Love a Maori (1972), feature films that entail romance narratives. Te Miha Hayward’s positionality is key to each chapter’s methodology, locating her voice in extensive primary and secondary materials.   This work challenges the debate around film’s value as a source of history, engaging at an intersection of disciplines. The analysis of Rewi’s Last Stand interprets its narrative text and Te Miha Hayward’s paratextual discussion through mana wāhine and kaupapa Māori theories. Such interpretation looks beyond the finished text, to Te Miha Hayward’s affirmation of its historical relevance. Connecting her work with the social realism genre, To Love a Maori’s dual narrative speaks to Māori and Pākehā audiences in different ways, further criticizing assimilation and Pākehā discrimination towards Māori. Navigating the issues of authorial ambiguity is central to locating Te Miha Hayward’s voice, thereby illuminating her authorship. Hence, I argue her contribution to Māori representation in film demonstrates her self-determination as a filmmaker.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Arts

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



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Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Loader, Arini; Lichtner, Giacomo