National | Public Interest Journalism

Respected film and TV cultural advisor Ngamaru Raerino dies

Māori screenwriter, actor and cultural expert, Ngamaru Raerino has died, aged 79.

Of Mataatua, Te Arawa and Tainui descent, Raerino worked on film and television productions such as Mataku, Shortland Street and Whale Rider.

Raerino established guidelines on Māori culture and language within the film and TV industry, including how to navigate sensitive areas of te ao Māori portrayed on camera. He told Waka Huia one of his roles as a cultural advisor in film and tv was to educate producers and directors about tikanga Māori, particularly with tangihanga and kangakanga (curse words and insults)

"Even though it's make-believe, the thing to remember is you are acting as if you are burying someone. When the scene is completed, the grave you excavated for the scene will still be there. The thing that an advisor needs to do is take a stone, direct the last words to the rock and bury it in the grave. Because if you don't put anything in the grave, that grave will go looking for a body to bury. It might even be you, the person who excavated it!

"Secondly, words that denigrate and belittle.Insults that get thrown at people onscreen. Even though it's just for TV you still said it. The negative energy needs to be cleansed. You have still cursed. My job as the advisor is to go and clear the bad energy that has been released."

Raerino was also a prolific writer in the Māori language.

Ngamaru Raerino is survived by his wife Diane, children Steven Mary, Maea, Kimiora, Heddell and Te Awaroa and his many mokopuna and mokopuna tuarua.

He will be taken to Tarimano marae in Awahou, Rotorua for a brief time on Tuesday before returning to Tū Te Ao marae in Te Teko where he grew up.

Public Interest Journalism, funded through NZ On Air

Public Interest Journalism