We use cookies to help us understand how you use our site, and make your experience better. To find out more read our privacy policy.




Full screen
Video quality

Low 0 MB

High 0 MB


Hero image for Rawiri Paratene: From Play School to Whale Rider...

Rawiri Paratene: From Play School to Whale Rider...

Interview – 2010

Rawiri Paratene (Ngā Puhi) was the first Māori student to graduate from the New Zealand Drama School, and he has since made an indelible mark on the NZ screenscape. Paratene’s small screen career began with a small part on The Governor, and playing Koro in 70s sitcom Joe and Koro. Paratene then hosted daily pre-school show Play School. Paratene is also an acclaimed writer whose credits include the TV dramas Erua and Dead Certs. On the big screen, Paratene has played the role of reformed gang member Mulla in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?; but it was his role as Koro in Whale Rider that garnered him international recognition.

In this ScreenTalk, Paratene talks about:

  • Creating a stir by portraying a realistic Māori accent in the 70s sitcom Joe and Koro
  • Being asked to 'reign in' his performance playing a dead body in The Governor
  • How hosting the iconic kids show Play School helped to get him a long career
  • Fighting for Māori language and characters to be included in the show
  • How ad-libbing boosted the tiny role of Rangi into a major part in Footrot Flats: The Dog's (Tail) Tale
  • Creating the back story behind gang member Mulla in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
  • Causing a public stir by wearing his on-screen tattoos out in public
  • Loving the ‘honesty’ of his character Koro in Whale Rider
  • His most humbling and poignant moment on the set of the film
This video was first uploaded on 13 July 2010, and is available under this Creative Commons licence. This licence is limited to use of ScreenTalk interview footage only and does not apply to any video content and photographs from films, television, music videos, web series and commercials used in the interview.
Interview, Camera and Editing - Andrew Whiteside