The moderate success of 1987's Ngati (see entry 120359) enabled other filmmakers from New Zealand's Maori population to get their projects off the ground. Mauri deserves mention as the first film ever produced, written and directed by a Maori woman (Merate Mita). The film stars Anzac Wallace, a Maori who has run into nothing but trouble in white society.
Picking up a hitchhiker, Wallace inadvertently kills the man in a car accident, then assumes the dead man's identity in order to escape a bank-robbery charge. He confesses his crimes to his dying surrogate mother, but will not explain his guilty behavior to his girlfriend (Susan D. Ramari Paul), who ultimately gives up on him.
In the end, Wallace not only loses out on his chance to assimilate with the whites, but also loses the love and friendship of his fellow Maoris.