Simeon (Akuhate Keefe) has always been a good kid. But now he is approaching adulthood and is ready to make the transition and work with the men of his family in their sheep business. But his grandfather Tamihana (Temuera Morrison) is not convinced of Simeon’s maturity and tells him to stay behind with the women and other children. This disappointment causes Simeon to reevaluate Tamihana as the undisputed ruler of the family and even the entire family’s rivalry with the Poate family.
Mahana is beautiful, big, emotional cinema. It’s a sweeping epic as only a private family story can be and left me crying my heart out more than once.
Hongi (James Rolleston) lives with his tribe in the rainforest of New Zealand. When representatives of a neighboring tribe led by Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka) come to visit a shared holy site and pay respects to their ancestors, Hongi witnesses how Wirepa defiles that site, but then tries to blame it on Hongi and his people. Hongi’s account is enough to avoid all-out war, but it doesn’t keep from Wirepa returning and slaughtering Hongi’s entire tribe anyway. Hongi manages to escape and heads deep into the woods, to find the infamous Warrior (Lawrence Makoare) to be able to take his revenge on Wirepa.
I was really looking forward to this film (in fact, S. and I joked about the fact that this was probably the chick flick of this spring /slash – with all those half-naked, tattooed guys running around), but I was a little disappointed – apart from the cool and unusual setting, the film had very little to offer.