Top 5 Kiwi Documentaries

filming a documentary

Documentaries have the power to inform and educate. Watching investigative films is the perfect way to expand your lens of perspective and to gain insight into topics and communities outside your bubble. They are powerful tools that facilitate public discussion and spark social movements.

Here are our top 5 picks from DocPlay.

1. James and Isey

Part documentary, part home movie, James and Isey captures the countdown to Isey Cross’s 100th birthday and her tohunga son James’ devotion to looking after for the past couple of decades. Through this film, Northland filmmaker Florian Habicht takes us on a journey of life and aroha.

2. In the Zone

Directed by Robyn Paterson, In the Zone follows the story of American Terrance Wallace who launched a scheme that enabled disadvantaged Kiwi teens to receive opportunities at influential schools, such as Auckland Grammar. This film touches on the issues with privilege, diversity, and inequality in New Zealand.

3. Celia

Celia Lashlie was a passionate and inspirational advocate for the at-risk and vulnerable. She sparked poignant questions about the failures of New Zealand’s social agencies and justice system. Directed by award-winning, former 20/20 and 60 Minutes journalist, Amanda Millar, this interview captures Celia’s final days as she campaigned till the end to raise awareness on the social issues facing New Zealand.

4. Restoring Hope

This documentary shares with viewers a Māori restorative justice process where offenders and victims come face to face to repair the harm caused by crime. Through the eyes of Mike Hinton, manager of Restorative Justice at Manukau Urban Māori Authority, Restoring Hope raises public discussion on the criminal justice system.

5. Helen Kelly: Together

An intimate portrayal of a woman whose advocacy for workers’ rights as she battled with lung cancer changed the lives of many Kiwis all over the country.