Bob Maza
Robert "Bob" Lewis Maza (1939–2000) was an Australian actor and playwright.

Maza was born to a Murray Islander (Torres Strait Islander) father and to a Yidinjdji (Australian Aboriginal) mother.


In the 1960s, he was inspired by Malcolm X Speaks, and became politically active as a member of the Aborigines Advancement League
Aborigines Advancement League
The Aborigines Advancement League claims to be the oldest Aboriginal organisation in Australia...

, of which he was subsequently made president. In 1970, he addressed the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 on the subject of "the third-world status of Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands. The Aboriginal Indigenous Australians migrated from the Indian continent around 75,000 to 100,000 years ago....

". In 1972, he took part in the Aboriginal Tent Embassy
Aboriginal Tent Embassy
The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is a controversial semi-permanent assemblage claiming to represent the political rights of Australian Aborigines. It is made of a large group of activists, signs, and tents that reside on the lawn of Old Parliament House in Canberra, the Australian capital...


Literary career

Maza's plays include Mereki and The Keepers.

He helped found theatre companies including Nindethana and the National Black Theatre
Black Theatre (Sydney)
The National Black Theatre was a theatre company run by a small group of Aboriginal people based in the Sydney suburb of Redfern. The original concept for the theatre grew out of political struggles, especially the land rights demonstrations which at the time were being organised by the Black...


Acting career

Maza has appeared in television series including Bellbird
Bellbird is a name given to several kinds of bird, noted for their far-carrying bell-like call:* Neotropical bellbirds * Crested Bellbird * New Zealand Bellbird...

, Harry's War, Wildside, A Difficult Woman, A Country Practice
A Country Practice
A Country Practice is an Australian television drama series. One of the longest-running of its kind, produced by James Davern of JNP Productions, it ran on the Seven Network for 1,058 episodes from 18 November 1981 to 22 November 1993. It was produced in ATN-7's production facility at Epping,...

, Women of the Sun
Women of the Sun
Women of the Sun is an award-winning Australian historical drama television miniseries which was broadcast on SBS Television and later the Australian Broadcasting Company in 1981. The series, co-written by Sonia Borg and Hyllus Maris, was composed of four 60-minute episodes which portrayed the...

and Heartland
Heartland (Australian TV series)
Heartland was an Australian television drama series that ran on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1994. It ran for thirteen episodes and starred Cate Blanchett and Ernie Dingo...

. He has also acted in films, including When the Stars Came Dreaming (1998), Lilian's Story (1996), The Back of Beyond
The Back of Beyond
The Back of Beyond is a feature-length award-winning Australian documentary film produced and directed by John Heyer for the Shell Film Unit. In terms of breadth of distribution, awards garnered, and critical response, it is Heyer's most successful film...

(1995), The Nostradamus Kid
The Nostradamus Kid
The Nostradamus Kid is a 1992 Australian feature film written and directed by Bob Ellis.The film is a romantic comedy about the religious and sexual coming of age of a 1960s Seventh-day Adventist boy. Ken Elkin is a "randy young man" who is told that the world is about to end...

(1993), Reckless Kelly
Reckless Kelly
Reckless Kelly is a 1993 Australian comedy film written, directed and starring Yahoo Serious. The story is a satirical take on a modern day Ned Kelly who is forced to Hollywood in order to make enough money to save his family's land. As it goes against his belief, he cannot simply rob banks for...

(1993), Ground Zero
Ground Zero (1987 film)
Ground Zero is an Australian drama-thriller about a cinematographer who, prompted by curiosity about some old film footage taken by his father, embarks on a quest to find out the truth about British nuclear tests at Maralinga...

(1987), The Fringe Dwellers
Fringe dwellers
"Fringe Dwellers" is a name given to groups of Aboriginal Australians who camp on the outskirts of Australian towns and cities, from which they have become excluded, generally through law or land alienation....

(1986), BabaKiueria
BabaKiueria is a 1986 Australian satirical film on relations between Indigenous Australians and Australians of European descent.The opening scene depicts a group of uniformed Indigenous Australians coming ashore in a small boat, watched by various European Australians engaged in typical beachside...

(1986), White Man's Legend (1984), and 27A
27A is a 1974 Australian film directed by Esben Storm. At the AFI Awards it won in the Best Actor and Best Fiction categories.-Cast:*Robert McDarra as Billy Donald*Bill Hunter as Cornish*Graham Corry as Peter Newman...


Personal life

He married Vera Blankman, an immigrant from Holland, and they had two daughters, Lisa and Rachael, also an actress. They felt the impact of racism for those times, but their relationship endured.


Father and daughter, Bob and Rachel both had roles in the short-lived Australian drama series Heartland
Heartland (Australian TV series)
Heartland was an Australian television drama series that ran on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1994. It ran for thirteen episodes and starred Cate Blanchett and Ernie Dingo...



In 1993, he was awarded the Order of Australia
Order of Australia
The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

for services to the arts and to Indigenous people. In 1998, he received the Australia Council Red Ochre award for his "outstanding contribution to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts".

Today, the Bob Maza Fellowship, awarded by the Australian government, is destined to help further the career of established Indigenous actors.
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