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Watch: Trailer to Lee Tamahori’s new film The Convert out now

Natasha Hill

Award-winning director Lee Tamahori’s new film The Convert will make its way to our screens after its world debut in Canada.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Tamahori is known for directing the 1994 film Once Were Warriors, 2001′s Along Came a Spider starring Morgan Freeman and the James Bond film Die Another Day in 2002.

The Convert is a historical drama set in pre-colonial Aotearoa telling the story of a generational blood feud between Māori tribes.

The cast includes Australian actor Guy Pearce, known for his role in Prometheus, and Whina actor Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne.

Pearce’s character Thomas Munro arrives on the shore of a colonial town as a new preacher.

Stuck between tense family dynamics and communities, he learns how to navigate his way on this new land.

Pearce says the film script immediately caught his eye and with Tamahori directing, he knew he had to be a part of the project.

“I thought the script was immediately poignant and realistic and quite profound. And knowing that Lee was going to be making this, I just knew that there was a tenderness and an intelligence to it that perhaps others wouldn’t bring,” Pearce said.

Ngatai-Melbourne says it was the bringing together of the new British settlers and Māori that drew her to the film.

“What was appealing for me was that this wasn’t a Māori against Pākehā story, it is a story about how Māori educated Pākehā and how Pākehā educated Māori.”

Tamahori describes the film as an opportunity for us to see Māori as they were before the influence of Europeans.

“Agriculture, clothing, weaponry, transport, and most important of all their relationship with the land, waterways, and sea. This is a film where the European community exists in the Māori world on Māori terms.”

The rest of the cast includes Antonio Te Maioha (Waru, The Dead Lands) and Lawrence Makoare (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, The Dead Lands).

The film will be in cinemas in 2024.

Hero Image: The Convert stars Guy Pearce and Tioreore Ngatai Melbourne and is dire3cted by Lee Tamahor. Photo/Supplied

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