Wellington: Film screening, Wildcat + discussion, July 7th

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Anarchia's picture
Joined: 18-03-06
Jun 27 2011 11:43
Wellington: Film screening, Wildcat + discussion, July 7th

WHERE: Wellington People’s Centre, 2 Lukes Lane, off Manners St (View Map)

WHEN: 7pm, Thursday July 7th

WHAT: Screening of Wildcat (1981, view trailer here), 71 mins. With a short talk beforehand from one of the films directors, plus discussion after. Free, with tea/coffee/biscuits provided. Organised by the Greater Wellington Branch of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement.

Discontent amongst timberworkers over the running of their union had been simmering for years. Members accused the national executive of exerting dictatorial control and of making deals with management, which left timberworkers with some of the lowest wages and worst conditions in the country. In 1977 this anger erupted in the growth of a remarkable rank-and-file movement aiming to oust the incumbent leadership and bring democracy to the union. Workers from six major sites in the Bay of Plenty-Waikato region banded together to form the Combined Council of Delegates and began a series of actions climaxing in a full-scale strike, which brought the timber industry to a standstill. Wildcat is the story of this struggle and its bitter aftermath told by the workers themselves – bushmen from Kaingaroa, millhands form Kawerau and Waipa, stacker drivers from Kinleith. Maori, Pakeha, novices and old-time union battlers.

“Wildcat is something of a landmark in New Zealand film-making… Throughout the saga and this film epic proportions are reached at all times, the intelligence, the wit, and the articulation of this group of predominantly Polynesian workers makes one wonder… There are even moments of genuine lyricism, for example, when the strikers gather food for themselves and their families, when one can suddenly imagine oneself in the midst of revolution.”

- Paul Maunder, Sequence (Wellington Film Society)