December 04, 2018
Utu director made space for Māori
Filmmaker Geoff Murphy is being remembered for going out of his way to make spaces for Māori in front of and behind the camera.
Murphy, who made the classic films Utu and Goodbye Pork Pie before taking his directing skills to Hollywood, died on Sunday aged 80.
Utu star Zac Wallace says despite never having acted, Murphy gave him the role of a warrior seeking revenge for a colonial massacre after seeing footage by Merata Mita of him leading the Mangere Bridge strike.
Murphy was willing to learn from Māori and give them space to work.
"He had all sorts of really good people working for him and he helped them. He coached them through produciton, direciton, sound, even the labour work – if you can cook, get in a caravan. He gave every opportunity to Māori people. He was adored by Māori men and women," Wallace says.
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