Iwi say no to toilet paper ads

JAMES IRELAND
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2013

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Loo paper has made the list of subjects that cannot be filmed on certain Ngati Whatua o Orakei land.

Television shows, commercials and films that feature alcohol, tobacco and toilet paper have all been blacklisted by iwi when it comes to filming in some of its tribal areas.

The guidelines for filming on Ngati Whatua land were put forward to accompany Auckland Council's film protocol which outlines what can and cannot be filmed on council land.

Ngati Whatua's tribal area includes all of West Auckland, except for a section that stretches from the Waitakere Train Station out to Piha and up to O'Neills Bay, which is home to Te Kawerau a Maki, according to the government's directory of iwi and Maori organisations. 

Ngati Whatua's land in the rest of Auckland covers Mangere in the south up to Okura in the north and as far east as Glendowie.

The iwi's senior manager of heritage and resource management Malcolm Paterson said it would probably allow filming of toilet paper adverts on parts of its land but not on sites that were tapu.

''Places like the crater of Mt Eden are sacred to us. We would not be comfortable showing our church and pa in a toilet paper commercial. It would be like shooting one in a cathedral, it's not really appropriate.''

Other issues are the use of indigenous knowledge without consulting the ''owners of that knowledge'' and the misuse of iwi history or legends.

Paterson said they were also concerned if a set was built and was shown as part of a landmark.''If the film clearly identifies One Tree Hill and shows a brothel on it that would be a big problem for us. If it just portrayed it as an unidentifiable hill then it probably wouldn't be a problem,'' he said.

Paterson said the biggest problem they have with film crews is the physical damage caused when equipment is carried in and out.

Productions must pay between $175 and $1,500 a day to film on the tribe's land, depending on the budget of the film. Student and charity films are not charged.

A portion of those fees has recently gone towards repairing damage done to the foundations of the whare site on top of Mt Eden.

Te Kawerau a Maki Iwi spokesman Te Warena Taua said ongoing treaty negotiations have made it difficult for the tribe to establish guidelines for film and instead it looks at filming requests on a case by case basis.

''It is something we are constantly working with the council on to make sure we're on the same page,'' he said.

''What we would expect from film crews is respect for the land and tribal tikanga. For most tribal groups it's likely that the guidelines are similar.''

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Henderson-based Voice Films producer Quentin Whitwell said the land owned by Ngati Whatua was fantastic to shoot on because it gives the best views of the city.

''Wellington has places like Weta Workshop but the backbone of the film industry is in Auckland. All the equipment and crews are up here. 

''We have such a great city to film in, you can be in Vulcan Lane in the city or drive for 45 minutes and be in Piha.''

Whitwell said iwi had been accommodating and it was worth abiding by guidelines if it means filming on great locations.

''It's getting much tougher to get films financed, the big budgets just are not there like they used to be. 

''It's essential for the council and the government to give incentives to make sure the work stays here. If everyone's in agreement as to what can and can't be done then we can all work towards the same goal.''

Auckland mayor Len Brown said the film protocol was an important step to help the city's reputation as a base for multi-million dollar international productions.

- Auckland Now

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