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Whale Rider impresses influential US audience

Whale Rider impresses influential US audience

Whale Rider is the latest New Zealand film to make its mark on the United States. In a special pre-release screening last night in New York City, the film was previewed by a group of senior travel media and tourism industry representatives.

Tourism Minister Mark Burton described the evening as a “very special and unique occasion.”

The screening was organised by Tourism New Zealand in association with Newmarket Films, Whale Rider’s US distributors. Mark Burton hosted the evening, with a special introduction by Whale Rider’s author, Witi Ihimaera. Tourism New Zealand Chairman Wally Stone was also in attendance.

“Whale Rider proved to be a superb vehicle for promoting New Zealand to this discerning and influential audience. Our guests were overwhelmingly moved and impressed with the film, its story, and the new insights it gave them into New Zealand,” said Mark Burton.

“For all those who attended, this will be a particularly memorable occasion because of Witi Ihimaera’s personal introduction and connection to the story. The New Yorkers were especially intrigued to learn that Witi had written the story for his daughters while he was in New York City.

“From the animated and enthusiastic discussions at the function that followed the screening, there can be no doubt that Whale Rider is going generate further interest and awareness of New Zealand as a destination.

“Through Tourism New Zealand, we are working to build on our international image. Bringing New Zealand’s unique cultural heritage to our potential visitors is a key facet of this work.

“Last night, Whale Rider proved to be an excellent ambassador.”

The Whale Rider screening and function capped off a busy New York City programme of meetings with industry and media for Mark Burton. The Minister is now in Los Angeles, hosting a series of functions as part of Kiwilink, New Zealand’s largest major annual tourism event.

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