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Film, 1985 (Drama)






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Clips (5)

  1. Part one of four from this full length film.

  2. Part two of four from this full length film.

  3. Part three of four from this full length film.

  4. Part four of four from this full length film.

  5. The credits from this film.


Part two of a trilogy (see also Kingi's Story, Mark II) about troubled NZ youth. Filmed at, and inspired by residents of Kohitere Boys Training Centre, Levin, the bros-in-borstal tale follows a group of teens who are wards of the state; played by actors Mitchell Manuel, Faifua "Junior" Amiga and Nicholas Rogers. Kingpin focuses on the bond between Riki (Manuel) and Willie (Amiga), who along with the other kids are terrorised by Karl (Rogers), the Kingpin of the title. Powerful and moving, it's directed by Mike Walker, who co-wrote the script with Manuel.


Notes on Kingpin by Mitchell Manuel 23.06.2010

Kingpin centres on the new arrival of Riki Nathan, a quiet but sultry kid who just wants to do his time and get out. But in the meantime he befriends Willie Hoto, an effervescent teenage boy whose tall stories and bravado win Riki over. ...

Read more ›

Credits (18)

 Mike Walker
 Gary Hannam
 Mitchell Manuel

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Comments (26)

 fred ewart

fred ewart

i wrote a story about my time in a boys home,they werent kingpins then they were scrappers, or we were alljust mates against the welfare, lol, rockon,

 fred ewart

fred ewart

yeh bro, thats my brother wayne ewart on here, well he is older than me, buit we have been thru the same places, and yeh well i still havent leant much, he told me stoys about boyshomes, and i told him storys, seems we were the same in alot of ways, tho he was a good fighter and stood up for others, where as i didnt really give a fuck, if i got bashed, i went back with something and finished it, kingpin or no pussyboy, thanks for listening, sfh?



fuar hekaa cool movie!!this movie beats some of the movies now i reckon, classics are unbeatable thats for sure :)
Thankss NZ on Screen for letting us peeps from Australia watch this!aha

 wayne ewart

wayne ewart

my name is wayne and i was in the centre from 1961-1963,i could write a book about life in that place where we did have kingpins and we learnt our story was we had this kingpin called herbie and two of us myself and a little guy called zebby thought that this guy was a bully so we got him in a room and beat the crap out of 1962 we had this a maori pakeha stand off where we all split into two groups maoris on one side and pakehas on the other,went on for weeks.i was one of the first in the forestry and we did have fun up there.i also escaped once.i got into trouble after that and went to borstol where i met over half of the levin boys again,like coming home to my brothers and that is how and where the mongrel mob began when we all met again outside.some kingpins were good people others were bullies cheers wayne

 Tom Coogan

Tom Coogan

Another classic,
I found this on video in the early 90's.
Next stop mark 2

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Related Titles (6)

 Kingi's Story

Television, 1981 (Full Length)

Another film in this iconic trilogy about young Māori

 Mark II

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 Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree

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 E Tipu E Rea - Thunderbox

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 The Beginner’s Guide to Prisons

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 An Inside Story

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Interviews with real-life prisoners


The most refreshing aspect of Kingpin is the total lack of apologist preaching […]. It is a positive sign of Walker’s understanding and respect that he doesn’t make up facile excuses for them [the boys]. Tough minded it may be, but the compassion of Kingpin’s outlook is touching too. 
Kingpin is the right kind of film for us to be making in New Zealand. It is about love and human being; it is clumsy but stylish. It strikes a blow for life. It is sensitive and caring. This film is one from the heart. 


1985 Moscow Film Festival
Special Prize - 'For the clearest embodiment of the ideas of anti-imperialist solidarity, peace and friendship'.