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New Zealand Film History - Essay Example

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New Zealand films have started to be celebrated internationally not only for the beauty of its land, the talents of its directors, actors and scriptwriters but also they offer to the world unique cinematic images that their makers culled from its well of culture that is so rich and multi-dimensional…
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New Zealand Film History
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Download file to see previous pages New Zealand is a cultural melting-pot. Its national identity didn't come ready-made to be served in a silver platter but it is a fusion of many cultures that are varied and oftentimes contradictory to each other. All of this hodge-podge of cultures that was the outcome of intermingling and sometimes violent embroilment of diverse heritages for hundreds of years produced a unique national cultural identity that is one of its kind and which is so "quite unlike anywhere else in the world" (New Zealand Facts). This can never be truly understood and Ruth Harley's claim that "our culture is the well from which filmmakers draw their inspiration" will never be fathomed if we do not dissect the various cultures that make up this multi-cultural nation that is called New Zealand. And this has to start by tracing New Zealand's history and describing the cultures that these various people possess.
Oral tradition of the Maoris claimed that a dark-skinned people called Morioris or moa hunters were the original inhabitants of New Zealand. Legend has it that these pre-Maori Polynesians (Australia, New Zealand Encyclopedia 1975, p.1013) came to the eastern North Island to hunt for moas, which were extinct wingless birds standing about 12 feet tall. Various literature failed to give us their kind of culture but only that they were assimilated into the Maori society. A Maori navigator named Kupe was the known discoverer of the land he called Aotearoa or Long White Cloud at about 950AD. Thereafter the Maoris came to settle the land
National Identity 2
at about 1350 AD. They came in 8 outrigger canoes from either Society Islands or Tahiti and with their advent, they brought with them their own distinct culture. Although described as cannibalistic warriors, these tough, resourceful and handsome people were and are closely-knit who are "bound in families and subtribal communities" and have a deep "sense of closeness and homeyness" (Schafer 1998, p.11). The Maori society was already highly evolved at that time and was characterised by division of social classes i.e. chieftains, commoners and slaves. Yet despite this, they had remained family-oriented rather than individualistic (MacInnes 1964, p.109). They are also highly eloquent and witty with a predilection for debating.
Maoris are also gifted with the talent for wood carving which is distinguished by intricate convolutions and feature pseudo-Oriental masks that are probably the finest in the world. What makes Maori culture so unique is that they always strive to achieve physical perfection through dancing and their ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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