Issue date: 
Friday, 22 July 2022

Now in it’s fifth week of release, Whina has taken over one million dollars at the New Zealand box office and remains in the top ten chart of films currently in theatrical release.

Written by Paula Whetu Jones, James Napier Robertson and James Lucas, directed by Paula Whetu Jones and James Napier Robertson and produced by Matthew Metcalfe and Tainui Stephens, Whina tells the story of Dame Whina Cooper, the beloved Māori matriarch who worked tirelessly to improve the rights of her people, especially women. Flawed yet resilient, the film shows a woman formed by tradition, compelled by innovation, and guided by an instinct for equality and justice whose legacy as the Te Whaea o te Motu (Mother of the Nation) was an inspiration to an entire country.

Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission Acting CEO Mladen Ivancic said, “This is a fantastic box office result and exactly what we were hoping for this important New Zealand film.  It is wonderful to see New Zealand audiences returning to cinemas in such large numbers to see a film about one of Aotearoa’s significant historical figures. Congratulations to the filmmakers on hitting this milestone.”

“This is a phenomenal result for a most deserving film about an inspirational wahine toa. Our congratulations to the film makers and all those who joined us on this theatrical campaign, including our exhibition partners, Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission and the Aotearoa New Zealand public for supporting our stories on screen,” said Mark Chamberlain, Managing Director of Transmission Films.

Whina had its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in May and opened on 109 New Zealand screens ahead of the inaugural Matariki public holiday. Stuff reviewer Graeme Tuckett called the film “an extraordinary and gripping account of an exceptional life and times.”

Whina was made with funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, Ingenious Media, Traus Investments, and Images Sound, Westmark Productions and the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Grant and Screen Production Recovery Fund. Transmission Films are distributing the film theatrically in New Zealand and Australia, with Cornerstone Pictures handling international sales. 

Whina remains on 87 screens across New Zealand this weekend.

Last updated: 
Friday, 22 July 2022