The Waimate Conspiracy (image 1)

Screened as part of NZIFF 2006

The Waimate Conspiracy 2006

Directed by Stefen Harris

This good humoured, deeply fanciful mock documentary about a land claim has a distinctively Cantabrian flavour.

111 minutes

Director, Producer, Screenplay

Photography

Editor

Natalie Glubb

Sound

David Stone

With

Jim Moriarty
,
Janice Gray
,
Mark Hadlow
,
David McPhail
,
Helen Pearse Otene

Elsewhere

This good humoured, deeply fanciful mock documentary about a land claim has a distinctively Cantabrian flavour. The 2005 discovery of a cannonball buried for 138 years in a paddock throws Waimate into turmoil. It’s all some locals need to confirm their long-held belief that local Māori were forcibly removed from their tribal lands in a bloody battle in the winter of 1866. The town is divided as a hotly contested claim eventually ends up in the District Court. Cameraman Dave is embedded with George Kepa (Jim Moriarty) and his whānau – for whom the concept of ‘behind closed doors’ does not seem to exist: we’re privy to their every desperate strategy. This ‘vérité’ footage is intercut with candid interviews with townspeople, including the farmer at the centre of the dispute and with the crucial courtroom drama. Mark Hadlow and David McPhail provide expert caricatures of the white man’s law – and a good many other cast members appear to be having just as much fun playing themselves. Helen Pearse-Otene lends gravity as George’s niece whose legal training is sorely challenged in the fray. — BG

"This is an inspiring work. It’s as if the camera left the film-set for a bit and came out right amongst us. That’s exactly what we were seeking to achieve with Ngati." — Barry Barclay