Rotorua stars talk about new movie Mt Zion

By Kristin Macfarlane


The Kiwi drama Mt Zion, starring Rotorua's Temuera Morrison and Darcey-Ray Flavell-Hudson and Kiwi musician Stan Walker, comes out in cinemas today. Mt Zion is a family-oriented story which follows a family of hard-working potato farm workers in rural New Zealand. Walker plays a talented musician who dreams of his band being the support act for Bob Marley's 1979 tour.

The Daily Post entertainment reporter Kristin Macfarlane chats with Temuera and Darcey-Ray about their new film and their new friendships.

Most of New Zealand will know his face from popular feature film Boy and the nationwide "ghost chips" advertisements - but that doesn't get Darcey-Ray Flavell-Hudson out of doing the dishes.

Rotorua's Darcey-Ray plays the role of Pou in the new family movie Mt Zion, which comes out in cinemas today.

Mt Zion follows a family of hard-working potato farm contractors in rural Pukekohe. A talented musician, Turei - played by Stan Walker - dreams of his band, Small Axe, being the support act for Bob Marley's 1979 tour. But it's a dream that causes some problems with family, particularly his father, played by Temuera Morrison.

Darcey-Ray is one of Turei's best mates and plays the drums in the band.

Other band members include Turei's brother Hone (Troy Kingi) and best mate Reggie (David Wikaira-Paul).

"He [Pou] is a very humble person who doesn't speak much but when he does speak he means a lot.

"I could relate to my character really well because he's a family guy and I'm a family guy," Darcey-Ray said.

He was looking forward to others being able to see Mt Zion and finding out how the public perceived it.

"The music is mean, it's awesome."

Darcey-Ray said filming Mt Zion with the rest of the crew was a lot of fun and not only did he and his on-screen family form a good working relationship, their bond continued off-screen as well.

He said they all enjoyed spending time together when they weren't working and had a lot of laughs. He now referred to everyone as his whanau.

Although he was pleased people would be able to see the work they had put into Mt Zion, he was upset that he wouldn't be seeing his new whanau members as often.

"Hopefully I can work with them again."

But in the meantime, Darcey-Ray said he was waiting "for two callbacks" but hoped to continue working in the movie industry for some time yet.

Despite playing a prominent role in a big movie, Darcey-Ray said that didn't mean he got away with too much at home. He said he still had to do dishes and mow the lawns.

Mt Zion is a film Rotorua's movie star Temuera Morrison can't stop raving about.

In it, he plays the role of hard-working potato farm worker and true man of the land Papa, who is also the father of Turei, played by Stan Walker. Turei's dreams set him at odds with his family, particularly his father.

Morrison described his role as his "most mature" yet and described the film as one for the whole family without any violence, sexual nature or profanities - and he was looking forward to being able to take his young daughter to see it without any worries. "I really wanted to be good in this movie."

"It's a feel good movie.

"I can really take my 8-year-old daughter with me to see it," he said.

Morrison, who has a long list of film credits to his name including Once Were Warriors, Star Wars Episode II and III and Green Lantern to name a few, said he really enjoyed being part of Mt Zion and during the filming, was able to share some of his experience and tips to his on-screen family.

"I just said to the boys, 'maybe I've got a little bit more experience in this business but if there's anything I can help with, just ask'."

He said all actors on the show were impressive. He said they were natural and funny, without trying too hard. He also spoke highly of the music in the film and Walker's vocal abilities.

"Everyone's acting came across natural, wonderful."

He describes the film, which has plenty of Te Arawa links with himself and Darcey-Ray Flavell-Hudson being from Rotorua and Troy Kingi, who plays fellow band member Hone being of Ngati Pikiao descent, as having a "beautiful wairua" to it and was proud to have been part of it. Although he said it had a Maori aspect to it, Morrison said Mt Zion was "universal".

"For me it is even better than I thought it was going to be. This is a special movie.

"You can't help but to be touched by this movie." Morrison said the theme of the movie - with Turei following his musical dreams - was one to encourage.

Morrison was now planning on heading back to Hollywood this year and looking at more filming opportunities.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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