Program A-Z
Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses

Intense docudrama about the notorious exorcism of a young woman offers a bizarre insight into local religious rituals.


Director | David Stubbs

New Zealand  | 2015

89 minutes 


With  | Kura Forrester

Language | English

Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses

Young mother Janet Moses lives in the little town of Wainuiomata, which is largely inhabited by Maori. She appears to be an ordinary woman, but after a few strange occurrences, she is found dead in her home in 2007. The police interviews over 70 witnesses and discovers the tragedy that took place prior to her death. Intense and bizarre docudrama offers an insight into local religious rituals. 

The story of Janet Moses was big news in New Zealand for weeks in 2007 and led to a notorious trial. During that trial it became clear that she was part of a very large and extremely close-knit family, which combined the traditional belief in spirits with contemporary Catholicism. When Janet started to display unusual behaviour, it was interpreted as a Makato: a curse or possession. Almost the entire family was involved in the exorcism, and in a mix of documentary and re-enactment, it slowly becomes clear how Janet’s tragedy unfolded. Director David Stubbs offers an insight into the closed Maori community with its clans and religious rituals that’s both fascinating and bizarre.