'Mt Zion' races to top of box office

A movie in which Kerikeri music and kapa haka teacher Troy Kingi has a role alongside Stan Walker and Temuera Morrison is number one at the New Zealand box office this weekend.

Mt Zion is a family-oriented story in which a keen young muso, Turei (Walker), dreams of his band being the support act for Bob Marley's 1979 tour. It's a big dream for the son of a Pukekohe potato farm contractor (Morrison).

The movie's opening weekend box office was $295,801 in 49 locations, taking its total to date to $496,508, which includes the opening day figure of $200,707 on Waitangi Day - coincidentally, the anniversary of Bob Marley's birthday.

Kingi plays Turei's older brother in the movie.

The 28-year-old and the rest of the crew lived on location in Pukekohe for three months last year. Filming took place in a potato field at the director's grandmother's house, which had been kitted out in authentic 1970s style.

With its mostly Maori cast and crew, the atmosphere on-set was more family get-together than workplace, Kingi said.

Mt Zion would appeal to anyone who remembered the 1970s, but the younger generation would also find it funny.

"It's definitely got an old-school, 1970s vibe," he said.

- Northern Advocate

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