The Auckland production company Communicado bought the rights to Alan Duff’s novel Once Were Warriors almost immediately after it was published in 1990. The book then went on to become a New Zealand best seller.

Once Were Warriors appealed because its story was contemporary, urban and controversial, says producer Robin Scholes. "To my mind the history of New Zealand films contained too many polite stories which were distanced from everyday life."

Technical Info: 
colour;colour format;35mm sound;Dolby
Production Year: 
Production Company: 
Communicado Features
1994 NZ Film Awards - Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Film Score, Best Soundtrack, Best Editing, Best Performance in a Dramatic Role (Male), Best Performance in a Supporting Role (Female), Best Juvenile Performance; 1994 Durban Film Festival - Best Film; 1994 Montreal Film Festival - Best Film, Best Actress, Most Popular Film, Ecumenical Jury Award; 1994 Venice Film Festival - Anica-Flash Best First Film Award; 1994 Hawaii Film Festival - Special Jury Award; 1998 Fantasporto Film Festival Portugal - Best Actress; 1995 Rotterdam Film Festival - Best Film, Special Jury Award; 1995 Santa Barbara Film Festival - Best Actress; 1995 San Diego Film Festival - Best Actress; 1995 Asia Pacific Film Festival - Best Supporting Actress; 1995 Australian Film Institure Awards - Best Foreign Film; 1995 Australian Critics Award - Best Foreign Film (jointly with Heavenly Creatures); 1995 SFFC, Antwerp Belgium - Social Film Prize; 2002 Summer School Film Festival-Czech Rep
Sales Agent: 
Hanway Select

Key Roles


Key Cast

Beth Heke
Rena Owen
Jake Heke
Temuera Morrison