Acclaimed US filmmaker Ava DuVernay calls Māori crime rates 'a myth'

Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay Photo credit: Reuters

Ava DuVernay has accused New Zealand of manufacturing Māori crime rates and imprisoning the nation's indigenous people for profit.

The acclaimed US filmmaker received an Oscar nod for her film 13th, which examines the history of mass incarceration of African-Americans.

DuVernay visited New Zealand last year to shoot Disney's A Wrinkle in Time and says she was outraged to learn Māori comprise 53 percent of the New Zealand prison population - despite making up just 14.6 percent of general population.

"[Those are] extraordinary numbers that very much match the model that's happening in the United States," she told Māori Television.

"Brown people and people of colour need to educate ourselves and forward-thinking white people [should] educate themselves.

"Incarceration is a business. You think people would be locked away if nobody is making money out of it?"

DuVernay says there's no difference between Māori and Pakeha crime rates.

"We know there's someone who's Māori would be sentenced differently to someone who's not," she says.

"The idea that Māori people commit more crimes - not quite. The idea that white people commit fewer crimes, is ridiculous. It's a myth, it's a fabrication."

A Wrinkle in Time has opened in the US to mixed reviews from critics.


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