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Once Were Warriors

Film (Trailer, Excerpts, and Extras) – 1994


Once Were Warriors opened the eyes of cinemagoers around the globe to an unexamined aspect of modern New Zealand life. Director Lee Tamahori's hard-hitting depiction of domestic and gang violence amongst an urban Māori whānau was adapted from the best-selling Alan Duff novel. The film provided career-defining roles for Temuera Morrison and Rena Owen as Jake the Muss and Beth Heke. It remains NZ's most watched local release in terms of bums on seats. Among a trio of backgrounders, Riwia Brown writes about adapting Duff's book for the screen.

You’re not gonna hurt my babies anymore.
– Beth Heke (Rena Owen)

Produced by



Made with funding from the NZ Film Commission, in association with Avalon Studios and NZ On Air


Song 'What's the Time Mr Wolf?' (Hareruia Aperahama) performed by Southside of Bombay 

'Give Me Time (Ryan Monga) performed by Mere Boynton

'Here is My Heart' (Karaka/Renata/Tumahai) performed by Rena Owen and Temuera Morrison