5 Jun 2010

Maori film-maker farewelled

8:56 am on 5 June 2010

Filmmaker Merata Mita was buried by her iwi, whanau and friends on Friday.

Waatea News reports several hundred people were at Pukehina Marae in the Bay of Plenty to farewell the maker of Patu and Mauri, who died on Monday at the age of 67.

Mourners came from Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Pikiao and the world of Maori film and television.

A fellow film-maker and producer, Tainui Stevens, says Merata Mita helped lay the foundations for not just the Maori film and television industry but for indigenous film-makers worldwide.

Friend and colleague Ella Henry says that in documentaries and films like Bastion Point Day 507, Patu and Mauri, Ms Mita created images showing both the dark side and the beautiful side of being Maori and being New Zealanders.

Ms Henry told Waatea News that she died too young, but there was some solace in the fact that Ms Mita died after delivering her final piece of work to Maori Television.

"She died on the stairs of Maori TV and was surrounded by Maori women who loved and appreciated her and I hope that, in some small way, that made her passing a little bit easier for her," she said.