From the producer of Boy, a new movie about a Wellington reggae band

Press Release – Whenua Films
From acclaimed producer Ainsley Gardiner (Boy, Eagle vs Shark), comes the brand new kiwi feature film The Pā Boys, set for release in cinemas nationwide on Waitangi Day 2014.

A contemporary story with a strong message, ‘The Pā Boys’, follows a fictional Wellington reggae band as they embark on a tour ‘down north’, from Wellington to Cape Reinga. Starring Francis Kora (from the band KORA) and Matarki Wharatau (Go Girls, The Almighty Johnsons), The Pā Boys is a story about life, death and music, with the prerequisite number of laughs and good vibes that captures the best of NZ talent, landscape and music.

On the surface Danny (Francis Kora) has everything, but despite that he struggles to feel like he belongs. Tau (Matariki Whatarau) on the other hand knows his history, his culture, and his place. But with that knowledge comes a burden. As the band tours, personal insecurities threaten to overwhelm the musical connection that comes naturally to them. Their travels expose Danny and Tau to a spiritual history that cannot be avoided and when unresolved events from their past must be confronted, it’s Danny who holds the key. The connection to the music and the spirit world makes sense of life and death for Danny, who must step out of the shadows to find understanding and belonging.

The strong cast features some of the best and up and coming Maori talent. Fran Kora and Matariki Wharatau play the films leads with Tola Newbery, Roimata Fox, Juanita Hepi, Calvin Tuteao (Top of the Lake, Shortland Street), Troy Kingi (Mt Zion) and Nancy Brunning (White Lies, Strength of Water) appearing as support.

The Pā Boys is the latest project from well-known producer Ainsley Gardiner (BOY, Eagle vs Shark). Ainsley has been involved from the early stages of this project and her involvement as a creative producer is apparent on the screen. Believing in the story, Ainsley, along with first time feature producer Mina Mathieson, supported debut film writer / director Himiona Grace. Himiona is the son of acclaimed novelist Pātricia Grace and a musician himself known best for being part of Survival and Dread Beat. Using his writing and musical skills to their fullest Himiona wrote the film’s soundtrack withFran Kora and Little Bushman, Warren Maxwell (also Trinity Roots, Fat Freddie’s Drop). The right recipe off-screen translated to magic onscreen and The Pā Boys is set for a nationwide release on the 6th of February 2014.

Sharing the staring role in the film is New Zealand’s beautiful landscape. The film was shot on location across New Zealand with performances recorded live in Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay, Whakatane, Whangarei and Herekino in front of local audiences. In a show of gratitude for the large amount of support the film has received from communities around New Zealand, the public are invited to enter online to win the chance for the films premiere to be held at their Pā, marae or community hall. All entry details are held on the film’s Facebook page:

The title track from the film “Inspiration” written and performed by Fran Kora is set to be the soundtrack to the kiwi summer with strong airplay already on radio stations across NZ. The music video for the single can be found here and broadcast quality versions of both the song and video are available on request.

About the cast

Fran Kora is best known as the lead singer of the band KORA. Fran is also from an acclaimed musical background and is a graduate of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. The Pā Boys is Fran’s first feature film.

Matariki Wharatau has been a prominent feature on TV over the latest few years staring in SPP’s hits Go Girls, The Almighty Johnsons and the award winning short film, Shopping for One.

Tola Newbery has been busy spreading his talents between his love of theatre and the big screen. Most recently he was involved in the play Hui playing the character of George Wahie in two productions, one at the Silo Theatre and the other at the Court Theatre in Christchurch. Last year also saw him involved in NGA REO HAU Awhi Tapu and NGA REO HAU The Prophet.

Roimata Fox has recently been involved with Korero Mai: series VII playing the character of Eliza, as well as being involved in Super City and Outrageous Fortune.

Juanita Hepi was part of the cast on Shopping for One and has numerous theatre performances under her belt including most recently Toroihi raua ko Kahira, Maori Troilus and Cressida, directed by Rachel House. Juanita was is a remarkable young lady balancing having a young baby and her career. Her baby was six months old at the time that filming begun so the whole family joined the crew when they hit the road filming.

This talented cast is supported by industry veterans Calvin Tuteao (Top of the Lake, Shortland Street) and Nancy Brunning (What Becomes of The Broken Hearted, White Lies)

About the creative team

Ainsley Gardiner has produced shorts, feature films, TV series and commercials. In 2004, she established Whenua Films with actor Cliff Curtis, to promote indigenous storytelling on screen. After working on two award-winning shorts with Taika Waititi, she has gone on to co-produce Waititi’s first two features, Eagle vs Shark and breakout hit Boy.

Himiona Grace is a film maker, photographer, musician andwriter from Aotearoa. Although this is his directorial debut Himiona has spent time on film sets as a stills photographer. Writing in in his blood with his mother being Pātricia Grace, so Himiona has successful wrote the screenplay for The PĀ Boys inspired by his love of music and song writing and his experinces as a young musican.

While The Pā Boys is her first feature film, Mina Mathieson has produced and directed numerous television shows, short films and documentaries and is a practitioner and advocate of creative and conscious communication. In 2002 Mina set up her production compāny m3media in order to develop indigenous voices and their stories. As the name suggests m3media works across multi-media platforms including screen production for broad and non-broadcast.

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