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Clips (2)

  1. The trailer for the film.

  2. A 10 minute excerpt from this feature film.


The Silent One is a mythological children's drama about the friendship between a deaf mute boy, Jonasi, and a rare white turtle. The boy's differences lead to suspicion from his Rarotongan village. When the village suffers drought and a devastating storm, the boy and turtle (also considered an ill omen) are blamed and ostracised. Adapted by Ian Mune from a Joy Cowley story, the beloved film was the first New Zealand dramatic feature to be directed by a woman (Yvonne Mackay). In the excerpt here, Jonasi is excluded from a boar hunt and first meets the turtle.

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Comments (30)

 Lucky ora-Clarke

Lucky ora-Clarke

I remember as a little girl living in aitutaki and travelling to a deserted island with my Grandmother who is now passed and I remember it was sooo hot and the water and island was so beautiful and I was there on that same island this film was situated and it seemed like "forever" but I was so dying for water hahaha it was horrible experience that is all I remember about being part of this behind the scene film .Wud love to know where this film is though to show my kids their great grandmother who is a " extra faces " around the background throughout the movie aaaww God bless her soul.



I so damn love that story..........

 Paul Ward

Paul Ward | website

Hi Shalom - click on the 'buy' tab above (to the right of the player) and you'll be directed to where you can buy this film on DVD

 Shalom Ngatoro

Shalom Ngatoro

this is a very old movie and to this day i am still lookin for it does anyone know where i can get a copy preferably on dvd



i luv tht story..........

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Collections.   See all collections ›  

Included in:

 NZ Book Month Collection


The Silent One is about going to the limit and winning … about being special and about people wanting to take that away. 
McKay displays some audacious touches for a first-time filmmaker. [...]. Twenty-five years after its release, very little about the film has aged badly. [T]he overall impact is undeniable – The Silent One is a rare example of an indigenous culture being honoured onscreen with respect, emotion and insight. 


1986 Paris Film Festival for Children and Young People
Best Actor: Telo Malase 
Special Jury Prize for Best Film.

1986 Chicago Children's Film Festival
Best Cinematography (Ian Paul)

1985 Figuera de Foz Festival, Portugal
Best Children's Film

1985 Moscow Film Festival
Silver Medal: Children's section

1984 Frankfurt Film Festival for Youth
Best Children's Film

1984 Giffoni Film Festival for Children, Italy
Silver Gryphon

1984 New Zealand Music Awards
Best Film Soundtrack (Jenny McLeod)