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Uelese Petaia

Actor, Presenter

Actor/presenter Uelese Petaia has worked in both Aotearoa and Samoa. Petaia's career was launched by an award-winning lead role in 1979's Sons for the Return Home, the first feature film to explore the experience of Samoan migrants in Aotearoa. He went on present on current affairs show Viewfinder and act in TV show Heroes, as well as international productions that filmed in Samoa, like Australian shipwreck tale The Coral Island. He worked as a presenter on Samoan television before returning to Aotearoa in 2017 to star in Tusi Tamasese's acclaimed One Thousand Ropes, as a Samoan father coming to terms with his violent past.

I knew the kind of person he was. I'd seen a lot of that in my own personal life with my uncles and extended family — people who ruled with their fists. But, at the same time, working out why they do that and how it affects them — that was the hard part. Uelese Petaia on his role as Maea in film One thousand Ropes, Stuff, 23 March 2017