Acclaimed NZ film director Geoff Murphy passes away

Picture Credits: Making Utu (Gaylene Preston Productions / Scrubbs & Co)

Murphy is the husband of the late Merata Mita who passed away in 2010.

Murphy was a producer, director and screenwriter who was one of the leading figures in New Zealand cinema’s renaissance of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

He directed well-known films such as Utu and the famous Goodbye Pork Pie which became the first local film to gain blockbuster status at the box office.

At the end of the 1980s, Geoff worked mainly in the US, directing films like Young Guns II and Under Siege 2 while making meaningful contributions as a second unit director on films like Dantes Peak and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings.

In 2001, Geoff returned home to piece together skits, shorts and musical performances from the Blerta archives to create the documentary Blerta Revisited. He followed this with his first New Zealand feature film in fourteen years: Spooked, a cyber-thriller starring Cliff Curtis.

In 2013 Geoff was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Moa New Zealand Film Awards and was named as one of twenty Arts Icons by the Arts Foundation. In 2014 he was awarded an NZOM in the Queen’s New Year Honours. In 2015 his autobiography, A Life on Film was published by Harper Collins.

In 2014 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to film. He was 80 years old.