13th September 2002

 

   JUSTICE AT LAST FOR MAORI CHIEF

 

Descendants of a Maori chief wrongfully accused of murdering a missionary in 1865 have finally cleared their ancestor’s name.

 

New Zealander Barbara Cairns - Head of Media Production at the University of Lincoln - is currently making a feature film about the story with support from the New Zealand Film Commission.

 

In 1866 Chief Mokomoko was hanged in for the murder of German missionary Carl Sylvius Völkner who had been executed by the Maori for spying for the British government.

 

The conviction of Chief Mokomoko allowed the British government to confiscate nearly 200,000 acres of Maori land, and the blame for the subsequent effect on Maori livelihood has since been borne by Mokomoko’s relatives.

 

The long-awaited exoneration has brought great relief to his family members who have now been freed from the stigma and also allowed to move Mokomoko’s remains from the unmarked grave at Mount Eden gaol to their rightful resting place with his ancestors.

 

Barbara was approached by Te Warana Ratima – Mokomoko’s great-great-grandson - to tell the story on behalf of the family.  

 

“My contribution is to make the story more widely known to the world at large but it will be a feature film not a documentary,” said Barbara

 

“The film, to be called ‘Bring Me Justice’, will of course be shot on location in New Zealand and most of its cast and may of its key crew will be Maori.

 

“At present things are progressing well.  I dedicate as much time as possible to the project, but all the work in carried out in my ‘leisure’ time. It is a challenge but well worth it.

 

“With the loss of Te Warana Ratima recently, I now feel it is even more important to get on with producing the film.  I promised him in the beginning that I would make the film and now it is even more important to do so.”

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For more information contact:

Gill Noakes, Press Assistant, University of Lincoln

Tel: 01522 886244 or Email: gnoakes@lincoln.ac.uk

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