Issue date: 
Thursday, 23 June 2022

From writer and director Tearepa Kahi, Muru will release in nationwide cinemas on 1 September.

On the eve of Matariki, the trailer for new action-drama film Muru has today been unveiled ahead of its nationwide general release on 1 September, 2022.

From award-winning writer and director Tearepa Kahi (Poi E: The Story of our Song, Mt. Zion), world renowned actor Cliff Curtis and artist Tame Iti, the film is a response to the 2007 Tūhoe raids.

Muru is a Māori concept for reconciliation and forgiveness. The film has been announced today to open the Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival on 28 July at Auckland’s The Civic.

Muru is the first feature film to be funded under Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission’s (NZFC) He Pounamu Te Reo Māori Feature Film Fund which is administered by NZFC’s Te Rautaki Māori team.

NZFC Pouwhakahaere Te O Kahurangi Waaka says NZFC is committed to ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand has a successful screen industry and that the Māori voice is key to success.

“The mission of Te Rautaki Māori is to champion Māori film and filmmakers to Aotearoa and the world,” Waaka says.

He Pounamu Te Reo Māori Feature Film Initiative is an annual fund for the production of dramatic feature films in te reo Māori. The fund aims to increase the number of films produced in te reo Māori and create a culturally appropriate production financing pathway for these films.

Filmed in Te Urewera and Rūātoki, Muru stars Cliff Curtis (The Dark Horse, Avatar 2), Jay Ryan (IT Chapter Two, The Furnace), Manu Bennett (The Hobbit trilogy), Tame Iti as himself and Simone Kessell (Obi-Wan Kenobi). Support cast includes Poroaki Merritt-McDonald (Savage), Roimata Fox (Waru) and Ria Te Uira Paki (The Dead Lands).

Tearepa Kahi’s previous feature films Mt. Zion and Poi E: The Story of our Song both set local box office records.

Kahi commented, “Working alongside Cliff and our incredible cast, in Tame’s backyard, in Tame’s native tongue, was a shared dream we’ve been working on for a long time. I’m hopeful that national recognition of Matariki, a month-long commitment to Reo Māori through Mahuru Māōri, means we’re ready as Aotearoa to open ourselves to a film like Muru."

Lead producer Reikura Kahi (Poi E: The Story of our Song) said Muru is a powerful and revealing te reo Māori language film with strong performances from a dream cast. “Muru is not a re-creation of the events, but a story which weaves the deep past and the recent present together, in order to reach a place, we deserve  now more than ever.”

Lead actor and executive producer Cliff Curtis added, “My movies in Hollywood are for the most part entertainment. But at home in Aotearoa, every few years I am privileged to work with story weavers like Tearepa and Reikura Kahi to make cinema such as Muru that is profound, heartfelt and meaningful. This film is a work of love, conflict and forgiveness. See it. Discuss it. Share it.”

NZFC Pouwhakahaere Te O Kahurangi Waaka says Muru is a significant film in many ways.

“This is the first film to be supported through Te Rautaki Māori’s He Pounamu Te Reo Māori Feature Film Initiative and it is another signature film for writer/director Terepa Kahi, his producer wife Reikura and their creative team.

Muru is very important as a film that supports the Iwi of Tūhoe, acting as a response to and insight into the traumatic impact of the police actions on their communities.  A stellar cast of experienced and emerging Māori and te reo talent ably share the Iwi perspective on the events,” says Waaka.

NZIFF General Manager Sally Woodfield said, “Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival is extremely proud to open our 2022 festival with the World Premiere of Tearepa Kahi’s te reo Māori film Muru. It’s incredibly special for the festival to celebrate its return to Auckland’s The Civic by presenting this powerful retelling of such a significant episode of Aotearoa’s history and we can’t wait to bring the film to festival audiences around the country.”

Kahi worked with cinematographer Fred Renata (Poi E: The Story of our Song, Mt. Zion), Academy Award winning editor John Gilbert (Hacksaw Ridge, The Lord of the Rings) and composer Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper (Shadow in the Cloud) to bring Muru to life. Reikura Kahi is the lead producer, alongside producers Selina Joe and Tame Iti.

The film was made with additional investment from Arclight Films International, Te Māngai Pāho, NZ On Air/Irirangi Te Motu, Three, Imagezone and Images & Sound. Muru is being distributed in New Zealand and Australia by Rialto Distribution, with Arclight Films International handling rest of world sales. 

Muru is confirmed to open the Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, with a special screening in Whakatāne, ahead of its nationwide general release on 1 September 2022.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 23 June 2022