A Maori Maid's Love

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A Maori Maid's Love
Directed by Raymond Longford
Produced by Raymond Longford
Lottie Lyell
Written by Raymond Longford
Lottie Lyell
Starring Lottie Lyell
Raymond Longford
Edited by Lottie Lyell
Vita Film Corporation
The Zealandia Photo Pay Producing Co.
Distributed by The Eureka Exchange (Aust)
Release date
10 January 1916 (Australia)
3 November 1915 (NZ)
Running time
5,000 feet (five reels)[1]
Country Australia
Language Silent film
English intertitles

A Maori Maid's Love (Originally titled The Surveyor's Daughter) is a 1916 Australian silent film directed by Raymond Longford about an interracial romance between a white man and a Māori girl. It is considered a lost film as there are no known copies.[2]


Graham, an unhappily married surveyor, goes on a job to New Zealand where he falls in love with a Maori woman. She becomes pregnant and died in childbirth. Graham puts his daughter in the care of Maori Jack, who later kills Graham. However his daughter (Lottie Lyell) inherits his property and falls in love with a jackeroo called Jim.[3]



The film was shot on location in Rotorua and Auckland from August 1915, with finance from a Sydney company, Vita Film Corporation. It was the first of two films Longford and Lyell made in New Zealand, the other being The Mutiny of the Bounty (1916).[4]


Distribution difficulties[edit]

Longford was unable to secure a release for the film in New Zealand. He blamed this on the influence of "the Combine" of Australasian Films and Union Theatres, who dominated distribution and exhibition at the time.[5] The film was given a limited release in Sydney at a cinema owned by Hubert and Caroline Pugliese.[6]

Critical Reception[edit]

The critic from the Sydney Sun called it "unquestionably the best moving picture produced up to date at this end of the world... there would be little need for importing films while Australia can make her own of such a standard."[7]

The Motion Picture News said the film "certainly could not be classed as a masterpiece. Reduced to three reels it would make a good, pleasing feature. The subtitles in their present state are crude and need revision. Director Raymond Longford had a hard task when he posed the Maori maids before the camera and deserves credit for the results obtained."[8]

Lottie Lyell edited the film for its British release.[9]


The movie is generally agreed to be the first full-length New Zealand feature film.[10][11]


  1. ^ "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
  2. ^ 'New Zealand's Missing Film History' at The Film Archive
  3. ^ "A FAIR MAID'S LOVE.". The Sunday Times. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 9 January 1916. p. 16. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 57
  5. ^ "FILM INDUSTRY.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 17 June 1927. p. 12. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Crowley, Bill, 'Pugliese, Caroline Frances (1865–1940)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 7 January 2012.
  7. ^ LOCAL AND GENERAL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXV, Issue 8366, 5 February 1916, Page 4, accessed 11 September 2013
  8. ^ "Film News from Foreign Parts", Motion Picture News 11 March 1916 accessed 23 November 1916
  9. ^ Lottie Lyell at AustLit
  10. ^ Helen Martin and Sam Edwards, New Zealand Film: 1912-1996, Oxford Uni Press, 1997 p 25
  11. ^ "AUSTRALIAN FILMS.". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 18 December 1931. p. 11 Edition: HOME (FINAL) EDITION. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 

External links[edit]