Little People


Private Lives of Little People is a one-hour documentary that offers a unique insight into the lives of the “little people” in New Zealand.  (There are approximately 250 “little people” in this country) Mention dwarves and many people think of circus freaks or Snow White.  Women who gave birth 50 years ago were urged to put them in institutions.  They grew up out of sight, and with very limited life choices.

Today attitudes are different.  Dwarf children are now mainstreamed at school and dwarf adults are leading successful lives in a variety of occupations.  But here is still discrimination and a lack of awareness within New Zealand society of what it means to be one of the “little people”.

Director Megan Jones says: “After working on this project for the last year, I concluded that for most little people, dwarfism is more a social handicap than a physical one.  “Society finds it easier to avoid or exclude people who don’t fit the physical norm.  The only thing different about dwarves is their body shape, yet their lives are radically altered because of this.”  “Someone once said that what they lack in size they make up for in personality – and that does often seem to be true.  Being born little is a challenge that makes many of them incredibly strong people.”  “People are fascinated by dwarves.  They seem to have a very potent image, and they capture our imaginations.  “Little people” are the stuff of dreams and fairytales – they are scary, lucky, magical, or the brunt of jokes.”

Co-winner, 1998 Media Peace Award.


Promotional Trailer

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Production Details

Thanks to: the Morrison family, Rebecca Palmer & Kevin Kramer, Ken & Alison Tawharu, Ken & Anne Palmer, Varina Sydow, and Jude Callen

Producer: John Harris

Associate producer: Rachel Stace

Exec producer: John Harris

Director: Megan Jones

Researcher: Rachel Stace, Megan Jones

Editor: Bryan Shaw

Online Editor: Michael Hodgson

Production manager: Philippa Mossman

Production coordinator: Mandy Harris

Camera: Ivars Berzins, Graeme Patrick, Nick McPhee, Mike Monten, Mark Rule, Graham Ritchie

Sound: Tony Parkinson

Narrator: Hannah Wallis

Sound: Graham Wallace, Don Anderson, Roy Trebliko, Chris Halgryn, Layton Carpinter

Sound mix: Graham Wallace

Financial controller: Glenda Paterson

Funded by: New Zealand on Air and TVNZ