6th November 2000
A Lincoln academic has scooped a grant to help her start work on a feature film about a miscarriage of justice in New Zealand more than a century ago.
Barbara Cairns, who is head of Media Production at the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside, has spent years researching the story of Mokomoko, Maori chief of the Whakatohea tribe on the east coast of New Zealandís North Island.
Mokomoko was wrongfully hanged in the 1860s for the murder of a European missionary.
Now a $15,000 grant from the New Zealand Film Commission will help get the production of the film on the road.
ďIíve been researching the story for a very long time,Ē said Barbara (54), who came to the UK in 1997 from the Auckland Institute of Technology. ďThe film, to be called ĎBring Me Justiceí, will deal with race relations in Victorian and contemporary New Zealand.
ďMy family are from Great Britain and my sister-in-law and some of my nieces and nephews are Maori, so itís a subject Iím deeply interested in,Ē she added.
The film will focus on a man who goes looking for his ancestorís bones and eventually undertakes the task of trying to clear his ancestorís name of guilt. Based on a true story, the film will more broadly deal with the colonisation of New Zealand by British settlers and the tensions that history has created for present-day race relations.
ďThe grant Iíve been awarded is for the development of the feature film, but ultimately the film will have a budget of around $12 million, or about £4 million,Ē said Barbara. ďItís a uniquely indigenous story and thatís why the New Zealand Film Commission is keen to support it.
ďA feature such as this is a first for me - Iíve done drama before but not a feature film - so Iím quite excited about the project,Ē said Barbara, who aims to produce a first draft script by March 2001 and then secure further funding from the commission and from a European partner.
For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager
University of Lincolnshire & Humberside (tel: 01522 886042)