National | Documentary

'Patu' documentary remastered to screen at NZ International Film Festival

Forty years on from the 1981 springbok tour, Merata Mita's landmark film Patu has been restored and remastered.

“This is very special indeed,” says film editor Annie Collins.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the original. It got cut down for television and thirty minutes were taken out of it.”

Deputy chief executive of Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision Paul Meredith said their goal was not to change anything but to restore it to how it was originally shown in theatres 40 years ago.

“We really wanted to maintain the integrity of the original film, so yeah, if there was a blemish then we would keep that in there.”

The film is a startling record of the mass civil disobedience that took place throughout New Zealand in protest over the South African rugby tour, which Collins says New Zealanders can still learn from today.

“The importance of the tour at the time in 1981 was that for Pākehā New Zealanders, this was a watershed when they began to understand exactly what Māori had been going through all this time, which we blindly turned away from, and much of it had been hidden from us, and which we hid from ourselves.”

The remastered version marks the 40th anniversary of the film and will screen at the New Zealand international film festival, starting next week.

“To see the work Ngā Taonga has done now, and the beautiful digitisation and restoration of it, is terrific.”