Lindsay Mitchell has been researching and commenting on welfare since 2001. Many of her articles have been published in mainstream media and she has appeared on radio,tv and before select committees discussing issues relating to welfare. Lindsay is also an artist who works under commission and exhibits at Wellington, New Zealand, galleries.

I went to see the movie version of Patricia Grace’s story ‘Cousins’ today.

Witi Ihimaera’s ‘Mahana’ was a hit with me – ‘White Lies’ to a lesser degree –  so I thought I’d give this one a go.

Three female cousins of a similar age (born post WW11) form the core of the story.

One is estranged from an early age due to her mixed parentage. She is in the legal guardianship of a nasty, drunken, Pakeha matriarch who doesn’t want the child to have anything to do with her Maori side. That plays out through the film.

It moves about chronologically alot. Between childhood; young adulthood and the present.

The child who is ‘stolen’ (words used in the film) suffers mentally and eventually becomes a homeless lady living on the streets of Wellington.

The cousin who balks against living in the homeland and being one half of an arranged marriage to cement tribal ties but more importantly land ownership, flees to Wellington and becomes a lawyer.

The remaining cousin fills her place in taking on the arranged marriage.

She ends up being the winner.

The lawyer will only come back to the heartland if she can find the stolen cousin.

The lawyer develops terminal cancer and coincidentally finds her long lost cousin who has just stepped out in front of a Wellington bus causing it to screech to a halt.

They return to their turangawaewae together  – one dead.

I was very moved. I shed a few tears. 

But I am not sure if my tears were for the death of the lawyer cousin, the trauma of the dislocated cousin or because I felt like the movie was holding me responsible.

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‘Cousins’ the Movie
Reproduced with permission

Reproduced with permission

Content republished on The BFD unedited with permission. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. This content is offered for discussion and for alternative points...