Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue, is an acclaimed screenwriter, director, and crime writer. His debut novel, Better the Blood, was shortlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Michael’s films have been selected for numerous festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and New York. His book In Dark Places, about the wrongful conviction of Teina Pora, won Best Non-Fiction Book at the Ngaio Marsh Awards in 2016, and Best Biography/History at the Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards in 2017. In 2019 his graphic novel Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas, a collaboration with acclaimed artist Ant Sang, received an international White Raven Award.

2023 festival sessions

Better the Blood

Michael Bennett in conversation with Mike White

Michael Bennett describes Better the Blood as a crime thriller with a message about New Zealand’s past, and how it reverberates in society today. His protagonist, Detective Hana Westerman, chases New Zealand’s first serial killer in this twisting, extraordinary story that plays out in modern-day Auckland. Michael discusses the genesis of his acclaimed novel, his ground-breaking international publishing deal, and how crime writing has come of age in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Telling Crucial Stories for Page and Screen

Michael Bennett in conversation with Mike White

In 2011 Michael Bennett joined a group that brought the case of Teina Pora into the public eye. Michael’s book, documentary, and feature film, In Dark Places, revealed one of this country's worst miscarriages of justice. Journalist Mike White talks to Michael about his life, Teina Pora, his screen work, and his many exciting upcoming projects.


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