Barry Barclay’s Ngāti is the first feature film written and directed by a Maori artist. The film depicts a post-colonial New Zealand of the 1940s, where the peaceful coexistence among the white and the Maori populations is still a distanced illusion. A young Australian doctor arrives in a coastal village, seemingly searching for his origins. As the locals welcome him with open arms, he observes how they stick together like one fist, at a time when the local factory is one step before closure and the area one step before withering. Initially assured of all the things he has to teach to the Maoris, the doctor will soon realize that he is the one who has much to learn by the traditions, the mentality and the community feel of the indegenous people. This simple and captivating story about a man on the search for his identity, is a landmark in the history of indigenous cinema.

Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Barry Barclay
Script: Tama Poata
Cinematography: Rory O’Shea
Editing: Dell King
Sound: Bob Allen, Brian Shennan
Music: Dalvanius Prime
Actors: Wi Kuki Kaa, Ross Girven, Oliver Jones, Ken Blackburn, Alice Fraser, Michael Tibble, Judy McIntosh
Production: New Zealand Film Commission
Producers: John O’Shea
Costumes: Sue Gandy
Production Design: Matt Murphy
Format: DCP
Color: Color
Production Country: New Zealand
Production Year: 1987
Duration: 91΄
Contact: New Zealand Film Commission
Awards/Distinctions: Best Film – Taormina IFF 1987, Best OST – New Zealand Film Awards 1987, Best Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Female Performance, Best Male Performance – Listener Film and Television Awards 1988

Film courtesy of Aotearoa New Zealand Film Heritage Trust and Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission

Barry Barclay

Barry Barclay – director of landmark TV series Tangata Whenua and feature film Ngati — was a longtime campaigner for the right of indigenous people to tell their own stories, to their own people. In 2004 he was made an Arts Foundation Laureate and in 2007 a Member of the NZ Order of Merit. Barclay passed away on 19 February 2008, after publishing his acclaimed book Mana Tuturu.


1975 Ashes (short doc)
1985 The Neglected Miracle (doc)
1987 Ngāti
1991 Te Rua
2000 The Feathers of Peace