MERATA: How Mum Decolonised the Screen

Hepi Mita | Documentary Feature
New Zealand | 2018 | 87 min

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | 3:30pm
MERATA: How Mum Decolonised the Screen
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2

As an intimate documentary portrait, filmmaker Hepi Mita chronicles the life of his mother, Merata Mita, and her journey in becoming the first Māori woman to write and direct a feature film. Breaking through barriers of race, class, and gender, Merata's independent political documentaries of the '70s and '80s highlighted injustices for Māori people, and often divided New Zealand. In her efforts to decolonise the country's screens, the film documents her early struggles and her activist drive that often proved personally dangerous. Hepi underscores the overriding importance Merata placed on family, revealing the personal sacrifices she made to actively create a better future for her children and her community.


Hepi Mita (Maori, Ngati Pikiao, Te Arawa) is an archival film curator and works as the Māori collections developer at Nga Taonga Sound & Vision—New Zealand's archive of film, television, and sound. He is the son of award-winning filmmakers Geoff Murphy and Merata Mita. MERATA: How Mum Decolonised The Screen is Mita's first feature film.