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Trailer Revealed For Historical Aotearoa Epic Ka Whawhai Tonu – Struggle Without End

02 April Transmission Films in association with Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) are delighted to reveal today the trailer for KA WHAWHAI TONU – STRUGGLE WITHOUT END, the historical story of the battle of O- Rākau told for the first time from the point of view of the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, in their own language Te Reo Māori. Today is the 160th anniversary of the battle, with Iwi gathering at first light to commemorate and experience the first glimpse of the KA WHAWHAI TONU trailer.

Set in Aotearoa New Zealand in 1864, KA WHAHWAI TONU tells the story of a pivotal battle in the first New Zealand land wars in the Waikato region. A battle fought with impossible odds between Māori and the Colonial forces. This heroic conflict is told through the eyes of two young teenagers forced to take control of their own destiny amidst the chaos of the battle and their escape.

KA WHAWHAI TONU was directed by Michael Jonathan (Tainui, Mātaatua, Te Arawa) who comments “Ka Whawhai Tonu, possibly the first of its kind in New Zealand and globally, with my commitment to partnering with multiple indigenous Iwi, hapū, and whānau (Māori tribes and families) to produce a film that carries an authentic narrative based on real accounts of the survivors of the siege at O-Rākau, 1864. I am incredibly proud of my cast and crew, many of whom are descendants of the heroes of this battle. To fight on forever for their land, culture & language. This is a significant story for us as Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika and others to acknowledge, learn and unite.”

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KA WHAWHAI TONU stars Temuera Morrison (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Maniapoto) who shares

“To be a paddler for the Ka Whawhai Tonu waka telling our stories our way is incredible, my first day on set I asked Haturini to bless me and a white butterfly danced around me, I heard Carey Carter call “karawhiua” instead of action! E patuki tahi te manawa… a deep voice rose from within ‘E hoa… ka whawhai tonu mātou mō ake ake ake’”.

Also featuring in the film is Cliff Curtis (Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Pikiao), Miriama Smith (Te Arawa, Tūwharetoa), newcomers Paku Fernandez (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu) and Hinerangi Harawira-Nicholas (Tūhoe) and British actor Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First Class, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) who shares “I am proud to have made a living and travelled the world as an Actor. I have made 140 movies in nearly every corner of the world. But no country and no people have moved and thrilled me like the community I found in New Zealand it is, and will, I suspect always be my lifetimes favourite place. My people. My country. Always.”

Mark Chamberlain, General Manager for Transmission Films comments “KA WHAWHAI TONU is the first Te Ao Māori story to be told in such an authentic and accurate way. Transmission Films are incredibly proud to be bringing this film to cinemas nationwide and beyond.”

The film was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission’s He Pounamu Te Reo Māori Feature Film Fund Initiative supporting feature films in Te Reo Māori, Te Māngai Pāho and New Zealand on Air. Distributed by Transmission Films through Australia and New Zealand and represented by sales agent Locomotive Entertainment (London).

KA WHAWHAI TONU will be released Matariki Weekend - 27th June 2024.

Watch the trailer:

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