Issue date: 
Thursday, 18 August 2022

Tearepa Kahi’s action thriller MURU, will premiere in the opening weekend of the Contemporary World Cinema programme of the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Set in 2007, Tāneatua on the East Coast of New Zealand, Muru is based on a real event - a raid by the New Zealand Government's elite Armed Forces on a remote Māori township as they search for evidence of terrorism. Written and directed by Kahi, Muru was produced by Reikura Kahi, Selina Joe and Tame Iti. The film screened first to New Zealand audiences last month, opening the Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival with a nationwide theatrical release scheduled for September 1st.

Muru stars Cliff Curtis, Jay Ryan, Manu Bennett, Tame Iti, Simone Kessell, Poroaki Merritt-McDonald, Roimata Fox and Ria Te Uira Paki.

When told of the film’s selection to TIFF, Kahi said, “When Tame and I first met with the Kōmiti o Runa o Ruātoki to seek their endorsement and carry this story forward, two requests were made by Tūhoe: that the depiction not simply be about the events of a single day, when they have been subjected to multiple Government raids through the years; and, that the film have an opportunity to take their story to the world.

Muru’s selection in this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is a testament to everyone’s skill, commitment, and craft and a giant first step to sharing this story from within Tūhoe, around the globe.”

Also premiering at TIFF is New Zealand/Australia co-production We Are Still Here. The anthology, which celebrated its world premiere opening the Sydney Film Festival, combines eight stories of survival and resilience as experienced by the indigenous people of Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Pacific. We Are Still Here was written and directed by Aotearoa New Zealand’s Renae Maihi, Tim Worrall & Richard Curtis, Miki Magasiva & Mario Gaoa, Tiraroa Reweti & Chantelle Burgoyne and Australia’s Samuel Nuggin-Paynter & Beck Cole, Danielle MacLean, Dena Curtis and Tracey Rigney.

New Zealand producer Mia Henry-Teirney said on behalf of the filmmakers, that “they are honoured to present We Are Still Here to the world at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. The film gives audiences an insight into the diverse experience of colonisation, and is a celebration of Indigenous strength, not only from Te Moana nui a Kiwa,  but the world. While we remember the sacrifices and challenges our ancestors endured, we look to the future and the legacies we build for our descendants to come.”

Mladen Ivancic, Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) Acting CEO said, “It is both empowering and gratifying that two films portraying the experiences of indigenous people will screen to international audiences at a high-profile festival like TIFF. Muru is the first feature to be funded through the NZFC’s He Pounamu Te Reo Māori Feature Film Initiative created to support and encourage the predominant use of te reo Māori in film, and We Are Still Here is the first collaboration of this type between the NZFC and Screen Australia.”

NZFC’s Pou Whakahaere Karen Te O Kahurangi Waaka added, “It has been exciting to support these films as part of the overall aspirations to champion Māori films to Aotearoa and the world.

“Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, he toa taki tini. Our strength is not one of an individual, but one of the multitudes.

“Both films epitomise this proverb where it reflects the Māori value, that success is not afforded to one person singularly but is indeed the achievement of a community of people that helps achieve the vision.”

Muru was made with funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, the New Zealand Government's Screen Production Grant, Arclight Films International, Te Māngai Pāho, NZ On Air/Irirangi Te Motu, Three, Imagezone, Images & Sound and completed with the assistance of the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Recovery Fund. Arclight Films are handling ROW Sales with Rialto Distribution releasing the film in New Zealand and Australia.

We Are Still Here is an official New Zealand/Australia co-production produced by Mitchell Stanley and Toni Stowers for No Coincidence Media (Australia) and Mia Henry-Teirney for Mārama Productions (NZ). The film was made with production investment and development support from the New Zealand Film Commission and Screen Australia's Indigenous department in association with Screen Queensland, Film Victoria, Screen Territory and Te Māngai Pāho. Rialto Distribution will release the film in New Zealand and Dark Matter will release the film in Australia.

Previously announced in the Festival’s Midnight Madness programme is Pearl, directed by Ti West, and filmed in 2021 in Whanganui and Wellington, New Zealand. Produced by A24 and starring Mia Goth and New Zealander Martin Henderson, Pearl is a prequel to X with both films shot back-to-back in New Zealand.

Pearl and X are eligible to apply for the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Grant – International.


Last updated: 
Thursday, 18 August 2022