Moana star Rachel House sends love to NZ from red carpet premiere

The premiere of Moana is taking place in LA today and one of its Kiwi stars has taken time to send her love home as New Zealand reels from yesterday's quake.

Rachel House (Boy, Whale Rider, Hunt For the Wilderpeople), plays Moana's grandmother Gramma Tala in the upcoming Disney film which is tipped to top Frozen when it hits box offices around the world in coming weeks.

She caught up with The Hits' Stacey Morrison today, immediately foregoing talk of the premiere to check in on how New Zealand is doing.

Rachel House plays Moana's Gramma Tala in Disney's upcoming Moana. Photos / supplied, Michael Craig.
Rachel House plays Moana's Gramma Tala in Disney's upcoming Moana. Photos / supplied, Michael Craig.

"It feels really surreal, particularly with what's going on back home - our love and thoughts are with our people back home. How's it going back there?" she asked.

Morrison gave her a quick update, reassuring her that Kiwis are strong and are pushing through.

"We are staunch and that's what I love about us," House went on to say.

"But all my love and thoughts to everybody's family, and kia kaha whanau."

Rachel House plays Moana's Gramma Tala in Disney's upcoming Moana. Photos / supplied, Michael Craig.
Rachel House plays Moana's Gramma Tala in Disney's upcoming Moana. Photos / supplied, Michael Craig.

House also addressed concerns about how Moana would portray Pacific culture, saying Disney had gone above and beyond to get it right.

"I do really understand that concern and that wariness, absolutely. But I really do think that this team has done a really great job in regards to their collaboration - they've gone the extra distance which I think is something quite new for them as well," she says.

"It's really allowed the Oceanic Story Trust to lead this story and they've really made sure that every aspect of it - design, colour, fauna, music, story, characters - they've really ensured that all the people on the Trust have agreed to it and think its good. So in that respect there are some changes that are happening."

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She says the next step - should anyone want to "tell our stories again" - would be to get "our people" into the pivotal roles like directing or writing, but "this time they've actually made a really big step...toward...that."

House also says she's looking forward to coming home but that she was planning on making a stop at Standing Rock to support the people there first.

Fellow Kiwi Taika Waititi, who House recently worked with on Thor: Ragnarok, has also been showing his support for Standing Rock, posing in an Instagram photo with Chris Hemsworth to raise awareness.

- NZ Herald

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