Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Director: Russell Campbell
Wildcat is the story of the timberworkers struggle and it's bitter aftermath told by the workers themselves - bushmen from Kaingaroa, millhands from Kawerau and Waipa, stacker drivers from Kinleith: Maori and Pakeha, novices and old-time union battlers.
Discontent amongst timberworks over the running of their union had been simmering for years. Members accused the national executive of exerting dictatorial control and of making deals with management which left timberworkers with some of the lowest wages and worst conditions in the country.
In 1977 this anger erupted in the growth of a remarkable rank-and-file movement aiming to oust the incumbent leadership and bring democracy to the union.
Workers from six major sites in the South Auckland region banded together to form the Combined Council of Delegates and began a series of actions climaxing in a full-scale strike which brought the timber industry to a standstill.
"Wildcat is something of a landmark in New Zealand film-making... Throughout the saga and this film epic proportions are reached at all times, the intelligence, the wit, and the articulation of this group of predominantly Polynesian workers makes one wonder... There are even moments of genuine lyricism, for example, when the strikers gather food for themselves and their families, when one can suddenly imagine oneself in the midst of revolution." -Paul Maunder, Sequence (Wellington Film Society)