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Pioneering Kiwi filmmaker Merata Mita dies

Monday 31 May 2010 2:28 p.m.

Prominent film-maker Merata Mita has died after collapsing outside the Maori Television studios in Auckland.

Maori Television spokesperson Sonya Haggie confirmed that Ms Mita collapsed at 1:15pm this afternoon. Efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful and she died shortly after.

Ms Mita has directed and produced documentaries in New Zealand and abroad for more than 30 years, including significant works on the Bastion Point protests and infamous 1981 Springboks tour.

Most recently, Ms Mita was part of the production team behind the hugely successful New Zealand film Boy.   

Born in the Bay of Plenty, Ms Mita was raised with a traditional Maori upbringing. She worked on her first documentary in 1977 and in 1983 became the first woman to direct a feature-length documentary in New Zealand.

In 1996 Ms Mita won the Leo Dratfield Lifetime Achievement Award for documentary.

It is not yet known what caused Ms Mita’s sudden collapse.

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