In Our Own Image - Public Forum on Media and Indigenous Struggle

On Thursday April 3, a public forum on Auckland will be held on the struggle to create representations of indigenous struggle and experience. Alexandra Halkin, the International Coordinator of the Chiapas Media Project and Leonie Pihama, a film maker and renowned scholar on Maori education and broadcasting, will discuss the challenges of bringing indigenous self-determination on screen.

A public forum as part of the Talk About Terror series at the Whare Wananga, Auckland Central Library


Alexandra Halkin, Chiapas Media Project, Mexico
Leonie Pihama, Maori and Indigenous Analysis Ltd., Aotearoa

For many indigenous groups, the issue of who controls representations is critical. With a cultural identity that exists outside of mainstream society, the complex histories and unique perspectives of these groups are often lost in our images of the nation. This idea of competing images of identity in one nation was recently highlighted in the news coverage of the so called 'terror raids' on the Tuhoe communities of Ruatoki and Taneatua on the East Coast. While mainstream media overwhelmingly focused on the legality of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, Maori media saw the raids as a continuation of state oppression against the Tuhoe sovereignty movement. In this second session of the Talk About Terror series, we examine what it means to create representations In Our Own Image through the work of two film makers, Alexandra Halkin and Leonie Pihama.

Alexandra Halkin, the International Coordinator of the Chiapas Media Project (Promedios), joins us from Mexico. Promedios gives voice to indigenous peoples from the states of Chiapas and Guerrero in Mexico by providing them with cameras to track their lives in a region torn with infamously poor human rights records and one of the highest international incidences of political murders and disturbances. She is joined by Leonie Pihama, a film maker and renowned scholar on Maori education and broadcasting, who played a crucial role in the formation of the Maori Television Service. What will emerge in this dialogue spanning two distinct nations are the commonalities of indigenous experience - the struggle to create space for indigenous representations, the marginalisation and demonisation of minority cultures, and the importance of film and television in shaping our perceptions of society.

In Our Own Image pays tribute to Barry Barclay (Ngati Apa, 1944 - 2008) who dedicated most of his life to bringing indigenous stories to the screen. Director of the landmark 1974 Tangata Whenua documentary series, he was a pioneer of Maori film and television, forever altering the cultural landscape of New Zealand by becoming the first Maori to direct a feature film in 1987, the visually cerebral Ngati. Barclay sought to shed light on the international struggles shared by indigenous peoples to retain autonomy over their own image by offering alternatives to the largely stereotypical representations of these cultures. In the second session of the Talk About Terror series in response to the 'terror raids' on the Tuhoe people and the power of visual representation played out in the news media during that time, we honour Barclay's legacy by bringing together two contemporary filmmakers to discuss the challenges of indigenous self-determination on screen.

DATE: Thursday April 3

TIME: 6-7.30pm

VENUE: Whare Wananga, Auckland Central Library, Lorne Street

This lecture is a part of the Talk About Terror Series Organised by Nova Paul, Geraldene Peters and Phoebe Fletcher AUT University, The University of Auckland

In Our Own Image.pdf (200 k)



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