New Zealand Arts and Cinema

New Zealand Arts and Cinema

(Aotearoa). State of Oceania (267,086 km²). Capital: Wellington. Administrative division: regions (17). Population: 4,242,048 (2013). Language: English and Maori (official). Religion: non-religious / atheists 38.6%, Protestants 10.2%, Anglicans 10.8%, Catholics 11.6%, other Christians 12.3%, Hindus 2.1%, Muslims 1.1%, Sikhs 0, 5%, other religions 12.5% ​​Currency unit: New Zealand dollar (100 cents). Human Development Index: 0.91 (7th place). Borders: Pacific Ocean (E), Tasman Sea (W). Member of: ANZUS, APEC, Commonwealth, EBRD, OECD, UN, SPC and WTO.


The abundance of wood has historically favored the development of sculpture and decorative carving of architectural elements and the prow and stern of boats, with a predominantly anthropomorphic symbolism. Tattoo motifs, a widespread practice in New Zealand, also appear on human figures. Particularly characteristic are the tukutuku, latticed panels adorning the houses of worship. Formally valuable are the hei tiki, hard stone neck pendants representing the ancestor and believed to be charged with magical power. There are also numerous cave paintings and graffiti on rock, with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic subjects, present in both islands. In the modern era, Maori art has benefited from new vitality and growing support and appreciation. Among the most important names Ralph Hotere (b.1931), Robyn Kahukiwa, Micheal Parekowhai (b.1968). An important role is played by the many galleries that have sprung up in the main city centers (Auckland Art Gallery, City Gallery in Wellington, Dunedin Public Art Gallery), by exhibitions and festivals promoting Maori culture and by Toi Maori Aotearoa, a dissemination and coordination network., constituted by the artists themselves. After the arrival of the Europeans, the figurative arts, as well as architecture, they have benefited from the meeting of such different schools and trends. After the path traced by Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947) in the first half of the twentieth century, there are many artistic personalities appreciated internationally: John Reynolds (1956, painting), Neil Dawson (1948, sculpture) and Anne Noble (1954, photography).


In modern times the birth of a ballet culture has been largely influenced by the links of the former colonists with the motherland. As a country located in Oceania according to, the New Zealand Ballet has existed in Wellington since 1961, representing some titles from the international repertoire (Swan Lake, Coppelia) and which, since 1984, can boast the title of “Royal”. Since 1967 the company has been supported by an institute for professional training, the National Ballet School. At the turn of the year 2000, many contemporary dance companies were born, and others born with the aim of rediscovering, enhancing and promoting the Maori tradition, also with the contribution of dedicated events promoted by the Aotearoa Traditoinal Maori Performing Arts Society.


Since the 1940s, the New Zealand National Film Unit has produced dozens of documentaries a year. We can mention: This is New Zealand, Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant, a medium- length film by J. Sykes and L. Diggle that retraces the itinerary of Captain Cook; Tilt to the Sun, an impressionistic short film by R. Bowie about nature and the seasons; The Water Cycle, From the ocean to the sky by M. Dillon awarded at the Festival of the mountains and exploration in Trento in 1980. Sporadic, however, the production of fiction films, which had a precursor between 1920 and 1930 in Rudall Hayward. In 1973 D. Taylor made Huia for alternative distribution, a love story which is the background of the contrast between city and countryside, between the old and the new generation. In the eighties of the century. XX some new directors have emerged: Geoff Murphy (Utu, 1983); Vincent Ward (Vigil, 1983; presented at the Cannes Film Festival); but above all Jane Campion, Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986 with the short film Peel, Special Prize of the Venice jury in 1990 for An angel at my table and again winner at Cannes in 1993 with Piano lessons. Subsequently, Campion made Portrait of a Lady (1996), based on the novel by H. James, which however does not repeat the success of the previous film. On the wave of the success of the Campion, two other New Zealand talents are highlighted: Lee Tamahori who, after signing Once Were Warriors (1994), a hard document on the difficult integration of a Maori family, arrives in Hollywood, directing a confused noir film (Awkward homicides, 1996), an episode of the James Bond series (007 – Death Can Wait, 2002) and an action movie in 2007, Next; and the eccentric Peter Jackson who, after a series of cult movies horror genre, which combines the bloody excesses of splatter with a violent anti-bourgeois irony (Fuori di testa, 1987; Splatter-Gli schizzacervelli, 1992), he wrote the disturbing Creature del cielo (1994), atrocious and visionary story of two murderous teenagers and the film adaptation of Tolkien’s most famous literary work, the triology of The Lord of the Rings (2001), which has become a true cult for fans of the genre and whose third act (The Return of the King) has won 11 Oscar in 2004, and the trilogy of The Hobbit closed with The battle of the five armies, the last act released in 2014.

New Zealand Arts

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