april, 2021

15apr(apr 15)12:00 am25(apr 25)10:00 pmVirtual EventCOUSINSwatch.hiff.orgEvent Type:FilmFestival, Season, or Series:HIFF SHOWCASE SERIES,Indigenous LensCountries:Aotearoa (New Zealand)Genres:Drama Event TagsFilmmaker Q&A

Event Details


WARU directors Briar Grace-Smith and Ainsley Gardiner helm this time-transcending Māori drama based on Patricia Grace’s novel about three cousins, separated by circumstance, and their long journey to find each other. Grace-Smith co-stars with Tanea Heke (WARU) and Rachel House (HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE).

Mata (Heke), Missy (House) and Makareta (Grace-Smith). Three cousins. Three lives. Separated by circumstances, yet bound together by blood. Orphaned Mata believes she has no whānau and lives out her lonely childhood in fear and bewilderment. Back home on the land, educated Makareta flees an arranged marriage to study law and begin the search for her missing cousin. She leaves behind cheeky yet dutiful Missy who takes on her role of kaitiaki (guardian) of the land. As the years pass, loss of the family land seems imminent and the women’s promise to bring their stolen cousin home seems more unlikely than ever, until a chance encounter changes everything.


Directed by: Ainsley Gardiner, Briar Grace Smith | 2021 | 98 min.

Section: Indigenous Lens

Premiere: Hawaii Premiere

Countries: New Zealand

Languages: English, Maori, with English subtitles

Genres: Drama


Watch the pre-recorded Q&A featuring the film’s cast & crew:

Ainsley Gardiner (co-director, producer)
Briar Grace Smith (co-director, screenwriter)

Ainsley Gardiner (co-director, producer)
Briar Grace Smith (co-director, screenwriter, cast)
Cast: Tanea Heke, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Hariata Moriarty, Rachel House, Ana Scotney

Moderated by HIFF Artistic Director, Anderson Le
Featured on watch.hiff.org with the film

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