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Profile image for Mamaengaroa Pere (née Kerr-Bell)

Mamaengaroa Pere (née Kerr-Bell)

Actor [Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine]

Whangārei-raised Mamaengaroa Pere (née Kerr-Bell) was just 15 when she was cast in movie Once Were Warriors. Her performance as Grace Heke, the sensitive daughter of a violent father, won her a New Zealand Film Award for Best Female in a Supporting Role. It was her first time on-screen. Pere took occasional acting roles while bringing up children, including 'The Sisters' episode of supernatural series Mataku. In 2002 she won another award after co-starring in TV play Staunch; this time she played a young Māori woman battling assault charges, after a police raid on her house. Pere now lives in Australia.

I was astounded by what she had behind her eyes and the sheer timeless beauty of her face. She looked both old and young and I had seen faces like that in a lot of research I'd done. She seemed to carry a lot of history with her... Once Were Warriors director Lee Tamahori on Mamaengaroa Pere