Acting runs in family
Mum, son star in new local film
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.