From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Parker–Hulme murder occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand on June 22; 1954. The story of the murder is said to be loosely adapted into the French film Don't Deliver Us from Evil and more faithfully into Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures.
New Zealand literature is literature, both oral and written, produced by the people of New Zealand. It often deals with New Zealand themes, people or places, is written predominantly in New Zealand English, and features Māori culture and the use of the Māori language. Before the arrival and settlement of Europeans in New Zealand in the 19th century, Māori culture had a strong oral tradition. Early European settlers wrote about their experiences travelling and exploring New Zealand. The concept of a "New Zealand literature", as distinct from English literature, did not originate until the 20th century, when authors began exploring themes of landscape, isolation, and the emerging New Zealand national identity. Māori writers became more prominent in the latter half of the 20th century, and Māori language and culture have become an increasingly important part of New Zealand literature.
New Zealand literature has developed into a major part of modern New Zealand culture through a growing readership, financial support and publicity for writers through literary awards and fellowships, and the development of literary journals and magazines. Many New Zealand writers have obtained local and international renown over the years, including the short-story writers Katherine Mansfield, Frank Sargeson and Jacquie Sturm, novelists Janet Frame, Patricia Grace, Witi Ihimaera, Maurice Gee, Keri Hulme and Eleanor Catton, poets James K. Baxter, Fleur Adcock, Selina Tusitala Marsh and Hone Tuwhare, children's authors Margaret Mahy and Joy Cowley, historians Michael King and Judith Binney, and playwright Roger Hall.
International success of New Zealand cinema
The early 1990s saw New Zealand film gain international recognition, most obviously with Jane Campion's The Piano (1993), which won four Academy Awards. Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures (1994) and Lee Tamahori's Once Were Warriors also gained international critical acclaim. The first two examples show how New Zealand film had an increasing tendency to be partially or completely overseas-funded, and to star non-New Zealand actors (Holly Hunter and Harvey Keitel in The Piano and Kate Winslet in Heavenly Creatures). This did not stop the migration of New Zealand talent to the United States: Campion, Tamahori, Once Were Warriors actors Temuera Morrison and Cliff Curtis, Melanie Lynskey of Heavenly Creatures and Canadian-born Piano star Anna Paquin are now all primarily based in America.
A notable exception to the migration tendency is Peter Jackson, who has continued to make his films in New Zealand. Jackson's career began with low-budget horror movies, such as Bad Taste (1987). He gradually became noticed by Hollywood, and directed the phenomenally successful Lord of the Rings films. Although made with mainly American money (and some from the New Zealand government and Jackson's Wingnut Films) and a mostly international cast, Jackson filmed the movies in New Zealand, using almost an entire Kiwi production crew creating an enormous skill base in the New Zealand film industry.
This has led to a number of prominent Hollywood films being made in New Zealand, with major international productions not only filming here but also using the various post-production facilities and special effects companies on offer. The resulting films include The Last Samurai, King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. While the funding for these movies is largely American, it has helped New Zealand film studios and filmmakers develop their skills and improve their facilities.
However, some industry figures claim that having large international productions employ New Zealanders has its downside. One New Zealand filmmaker recently highlighted how difficult it was to employ cameramen when working on a low-budget New Zealand film, as cameramen are now used to receiving large wages. Other film makers find that the opposite is true, and that the greater number of local professionals may actually have driven wages down from the relative heights of the 1980s. Another alleged downside is that the big-budget internal productions swallow up any funding New Zealand has available, making it far more difficult for local productions to find money.
Despite this, local content has also significantly increased with notable films including In My Father's Den and The World's Fastest Indian. Both films have done very well at the New Zealand box-office, most notably The World's Fastest Indian, which beat the record held by Once Were Warriors to become the highest grossing New Zealand film at the domestic box-office, taking in over $6.5 million.
The latter part of this decade saw the expansion of Peter Jackson's filmmaking empire with Jackson optioning the rights to The Lovely Bones, Halo, Dambusters and the fantasy dragon series Temeraire. Major productions such as James Cameron's Avatar and Walt Disney's 2007 summer blockbuster The Waterhorse are also utilising Jackson's Wellington studios and enlisting special effects giant Weta Digital.
An important and accessible retrospective of New Zealand film, Sam Neill's Cinema of Unease was made in 1995. The film presented the history of New Zealand film from the personal perspective of Sam Neil.
In recent decades, a number of popular artists have gone on to achieve international success including Lorde, Split Enz, Crowded House, OMC, Bic Runga, Benee, Kimbra, Ladyhawke, The Naked and Famous, Fat Freddy's Drop, Savage, Gin Wigmore, Keith Urban, Flight of the Conchords, and Brooke Fraser.