Tama Te Kapua (Tom) Poata, 1936–2005, founded the Māori Organisation On Human Rights in the 1960s to campaign for Māori land rights and social justice, and against the Vietnam War and apartheid. His activities fused with Ngā Tamatoa and Te Roopu o te Matakite and culminated in the Māori land march in 1975. Later Tama was a pioneer in the pursuit of Māori intellectual property, as an initiator of the Wai 262 claim.
Tama had a high profile in HART — Halt All Racist Tours — and coined its name. He ran onto Athletic Park to disrupt the 1970 All Black trials, and during the 1981 Springbok tour was a marshal in the Molesworth Street confrontation with the police.
As a filmmaker Tama Poata will always be remembered for his 1987 screenplay, Ngati, a landmark in Māori film. He acted in, directed and was involved in many other films, and promoted indigenous filmmaking in Aotearoa and overseas.
This colourful memoir combines vivid storytelling — tales of growing up in Tokomaru Bay in the 1940s and ’50s — with detail of the campaigns and cultural initiatives in which Tama Te Kapua Poata was a visionary, passionate and articulate leader.