This feature film follows Māori medicine woman Paraiti (played by singer Whirimako Black) on a rare visit to Auckland from her Urewera home. She meets a Māori servant (Rachel House) and is drawn into helping a wealthy Pākehā woman (Outrageous Fortune’s Antonia Prebble) with a scandalous, life-threatening secret. The tale of culture clash and deception in settler Aotearoa was directed by Mexican Dana Rotberg (Otlia Rauda), who adapted the story from Witi Ihimaera novella Medicine Woman. Producer John Barnett was also involved in the adaptation of Ihimaera’s Whale Rider.
At the time, I didn’t even know anything at all about New Zealand. I was taken by the film in a very, very profound way, and I thought, ‘if I could choose where I want to live and where I want my daughter to grow up, I would choose that place’.– Director Dana Rotberg, on deciding to move to New Zealand the morning after seeing Whale Rider