HOLLYWOOD HULA ::: Pacific Islander Film Hui

Don Selwyn

Don Selwyn
1936 – 2007
Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri

Godfather of Maori movies and icon of the Aotearoa screen industry, Don Selwyn worked as teacher, actor, writer, director and producer over four decades. Don appeared in iconic kiwi movies including Goodbye Pork Pie and Sleeping Dogs, going on to create dozens of television shows and films. He directed the first Maori language feature, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.

Don fathered an entire industry of young actors and filmmakers, starting a film school for Maori & Pacific Islanders who wrote, directed and acted in groundbreaking works including the Tagata Pasifika TV drama series. His films screened at festivals around the world.

Don Selwyn died in Auckland on April 13 after a long illness and was buried in his hometown Taumaranui.

Kua hinga te totara o te wao nui a Tane
The great Totara in the forest of Tane has fallen
NZ Actors Equity

Veteran Maori film-maker and actor Don Selwyn dies
New Zealand Herald

Hundreds pay respects to Don Selwyn

Add your memorial for Don below:

3 Responses

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  1. Rena Owen said, on January 3, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Don Selwyn, a very dear friend and an on-going mentor to me is he. I was priviledged to have enjoyed both a personal and a professional relationship with da Don from 1989 to 2007. You are sorely missed, Don and you will never ever be forgotten! Your legacy lives on e hoa! I thank you for your selfless and endless investment into every single life you touched and affected and I thank you for continuing to watch over us from the realms of our Ancestors! No reira, kia ora tonu koe, pai to moemoea e hoa!

  2. Whetu Fala Producer/Director said, on January 6, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    E te rangatira haere, haere atu ra!

    Thanks to Don and his colleagues Tungia Baker, Wi Kuki Kaa and many others – they blazed a trail for the training of young Maori in all aspects of film & television from writing screenplays to acting and all aspects of production.

    After the release of the “Maori Merchant of Venice” the first ever Maori language feature film – which Don directed & his company He Taonga Films produced, Don said to me” Whetu, whatever you think about this film, the point is this. No-one can ever tell you – like they told us – that it is not possible to make a film in Maori language. It’s your turn now.”

    Don you were our taonga(treasure) and we now share your legacy with others.

    No reira moe mai, haere, haere, haere atu ra.

  3. multinesia said, on February 19, 2008 at 2:08 am

    What an honor to have known you, great soul. Your humanity and passion inspired a generation. Aere, aere, aere ra …

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