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The Te Kooti Trail - Silent Film


Thu 3 Mar 2011, 4:30pm–6:15pm
Thu 3 Mar 2011, 7:30pm–9:15pm

Where: Whakatane Little Theatre, Rex Morpeth Park, Short St, Whakatane, Bay of Plenty

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adult: $20.00
  • Group of 6 or more, per adult: $15.00
  • Child under 18: $5.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: Warner Haldane

7:30pm show sold out. Extra show at 4:30pm. Proceeds from the extra show are going to Christchurch earthquake appeals.

As part of its Summer Arts Festival, the Whakatane District Community Arts Council, in association with The New Zealand Film Archive Nga Kaitiaki o Nga Taonga Whitiahua, is screening a classic New Zealand 1927 tinted silent film The Te Kooti Trail, which runs for about 103 minutes.

In the silent movie tradition The Te Kooti Trail will be enhanced by live organ music played by Chris Hainsworth, who, as well as being a highly-regarded concert organist, has accompanied films in New Zealand as well as at festivals in France, UK and Poland.

The Te Kooti Trail was directed by Rudall Hayward (1900-1974), one of New Zealand's most prolific film makers, and tells the story of the sacking of Mill Farm at Te Poronu, near Whakatane, as related in James Cowan’s The New Zealand Wars.

To finance the film Hayward established Whakatane Films Ltd, a syndicate of local businessmen. It was shot on location around Whakatane in seven weeks from early September 1927. The entirely amateur cast was recruited locally. Lead roles were decided by the player’s physical resemblance to the character to be portrayed while smaller roles were given to shareholders in Whakatane Films.

The Te Kooti Trail has received undue notoriety for causing New Zealand’s first home-grown censorship controversy. The film’s release was delayed by the censor WH Tanner (at the request of Maui Pomare, then acting Minister of Internal Affairs) for a special screening to Maori MPs and elders of the Ringatu Church to ensure it did not offend Maori sensibilities. As a result two inter-titles were changed.

Hayward was incensed by what he saw as political intervention; however he used the incident to maximise publicity.

Billed as New Zealand’s “greatest production”, The Te Kooti Trail had its world premiere at the Strand Theatre, Auckland on 17 November 1927. The film was favourably received and screened throughout New Zealand. Later it formed part of the National Film Library collection, however, it was only rarely screened until recently.

After an award-winning restoration by the New Zealand Film Archive The Te Kooti Trail was shown early in 2003 at a special whanau screening for the descendants of characters, actors and personnel involved in the film was held at Te Hokowhitu-a-Tumatauenga Marae, Whakatane.

As there is only one showing booking is strongly advised. Tickets may be purchased from ‘The Good Life’, 196 The Strand, Whakatane. There is a discount of 25% for groups of six or more adults. Further information can be obtained from Warner Haldane (07) 308 0215.