Act­ing runs in fam­ily

Mum, son star in new lo­cal film

Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - Check out the trailer of Waru at Bethany Rol­ston

Act­ing is a fam­ily af­fair for a Te Awa­mutu mother and son who both star in the film Waru, which will hit New Zealand screens next month.

Waim­ihi Hotere and son Mahutonga, 9, act in the se­ries of eight short films cen­tred around the tangi of a boy, Waru, who died at the hands of his care­giver.

The films were writ­ten and di­rected by nine Ma¯ ori women who share their in­sights into the com­plex­ity of child abuse.

Each film was shot in one day last year on the West Coast of the North Is­land.

Mahutonga plays the char­ac­ter of Waru’s friend, while Waim­ihi plays the role of an aunty.

“Mahutonga wears a cape in the film and por­trays the hope for the next gen­er­a­tion,” Waim­ihi says.

“It’s a fit­ting role for him — he loves su­per he­roes and comic books.”

“I’m proud of my son. He jumped into the op­por­tu­nity with quiet con­fi­dence.”

Mahutonga is no stranger to the screen.

At the age of six weeks he was on the set of the 2010 Taika Waititi film Boy with Waim­ihi, who played a teacher.

He also stars in the re­cent mu­sic video Shine by the Mod­ern Ma¯ ori Quar­tet.

“I like act­ing — I’d love to keep do­ing more of it,” he says.

“My friends at school were pretty sur­prised when they saw me on the news.”

But act­ing isn’t Mahutonga’s only pas­sion. He also loves to read, plays sport and the drums and is learn­ing te reo.

Waim­ihi has an ex­ten­sive back­ground in film and me­dia. She grew up in Cam­bridge and has worked in the cre­ative in­dus­try for 20 years.

Three years ago she moved to Te Awa­mutu so Mahutonga could at­tend Te Awa­mutu Pri­mary School. Waim­ihi says Mahutonga’s op­por­tu­ni­ties at Te Awa­mutu Pri­mary have de­vel­oped his cre­ative skills.

“He has the op­por­tu­ni­ties to work with a script, cre­ate sto­ry­boards and do stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion.”

Waim­ihi says Waru will be well re­ceived by New Zealand when it screens next month.

“Waru has so much breadth for dis­cussing so­cial is­sues and abuse.”

“We as ac­tors get to help peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fi­cult emo­tions that they need to feel — we start the hard con­ver­sa­tions.”

Waru pre­miered at the New Zealand In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in Septem­ber and had its in­ter­na­tional de­but at the 2017

“I like act­ing — I’d love to keep do­ing more of it. My friends at school were pretty sur­prised when they saw me on the news.” — MAHUTONGA HOTERE

Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val this month. It opens the imag­ineNATIVE Film + Me­dia Arts Fes­ti­val in Toronto next month — a fes­ti­val that sup­ports the di­verse, con­tem­po­rary work of indige­nous di­rec­tors, pro­duc­ers and screen­writ­ers.

Te Awa­mutu mother and son Waim­ihi Hotere and Mahutonga Hotere, 9, star in Waru, which will screen in New Zealand next month.

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