Larry Parr talks te Tainuia Kid and te reo
Producer Larry Parr
talks to NZ On Screen about the business and art of film and TV production. Parr discusses:
- His unconventional path into the industry: “I wasn’t like Geoff [Murphy], Ian [Mune], or Bruno [Lawrence] ...” Parr had started out as a lawyer in a bank.
- Early days working to raise the money for, and market, the iconic Roger Donaldson-directed films, Smash Palace and Sleeping Dogs.
- Raising the finance for a slew of eighties features (Bridge to Nowhere, Starlight Hotel, Queen City Rocker, Constance, Came a Hot Friday, Pallet on the Floor).
- The landmark 1989 Māori drama series E Tipu E Rea which he produced and which launched the careers of a remarkable number of Māori filmmakers (Lee Tamahori, Riwia Brown, Rawiri Paratene, Anzac Wallace, Wi Kuki Kaa and more). “The series was all Māori crew and cast except for three DoPs”.
- His time as head of production at TVNZ’s Avalon studios.
- The failure of Kahukura Productions and the “time in purgatory” he served between its collapse, and joining Māori Television in 2005 as Head of Programming.
- Finishing his directorial debut Fracture and helping Taika Waititi complete his Oscar-nominated short film Two Cars, One Night.
- The achievement of Māori Televsion: “creating a receptive audience [for Māori stories].”
- His new role at Te Māngai Pāho and his vision for a bi-lingual Aotearoa and the promotion of te reo on our screens: “just imagine what sort of country New Zealand would be if everybody had grown up since 1840 speaking both languages ... we’d be unstoppable!”
Through the ups and downs of a colourful career in independent and network filmmaking Parr reflects on his most satisfying moments, ultimately settling on the 2006 ANZAC Day broadcast on Māori Television, which changed the “social and political landscape and ensured MTS’s place in the broadcasting landscape.”
This interview is available to download or distribute on YouTube
Also see: Maori Television
and Te Māngai Pāho
Credits: Direction and Interview - Clare O'Leary, Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann