Broken Barrier



JOHN O SHEA, 1952, 69 min NZ Featurew

Tom, a cynical freelance journalist, meets a Maori family who offer him a job on their farm, where he falls in love with their daughter, Rawi.Her parents oppose the relationship, and he starts to discover the differences in the two cultures.

Broken Barrier is the romantic story of Tom Sullivan, a young journalist, and Rawi, the Maori girl he meets and falls in love with. While writing a series of articles on Maori life in the rugged North Island country of New Zealand, Tom is befriended by Rawi's family. The two fall swiftly in love, but her family disapproves of her marrying a white man. Finally, a quarrel reslults and Rawi returns to the dity to continue her career as a nurse. Their romance resumes when Tom follows her there; however, his family and friends raise a barrier against her. This. plus his unflatteing articles about the Maoris, once again thrust them apart.

Tom goes off to the timber country, and in a stirring climax is saved from a raging forest fire by the sacrifice of a Maori friend. hes is reconciled with Rawi and in their marriage is seen the hope of better understanding between the races.

"Broken Barrier marked the first New Zealand dramatic feature to be made since 1940. Its production saw directors John O'Shea and Roger Mirams crowding into a Vauxhall with two silent cameras, one picked up "from a dead German in the Western Desert". Ditching dialogue for 'spoken thoughts', the pioneering film examines cultural complications in a romance between a Pākehā journalist (Terence Bayler) and a Māori nurse (Kay Ngarimu, aka Keita Whakato Walker). According to O'Shea, some viewers considered it "a dirty movie" for spurring mixed race relationships." -NZ On Screen


Key Cast & Crew