Documentary tells story of a future leader

By Cherie Taylor

After wowing overseas audiences at film festivals, the documentary Maori Boy Genius is about to hit New Zealand cinema screens.

The feature documentary has been shown at film festivals last year in Berlin, Sydney and New York and has been released to be shown in Kiwi movie theatres starting May 2.

The film, which also played at the 2012 New Zealand International Film Festival and won Best Documentary at the 2012 New Zealand Film Awards, focuses on a year in the life of Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti.

Identified from birth as a potential future leader of his Tuhoe iwi and of indigenous people around the world - the charismatic, articulate 16-year-old is under no illusions about the importance of this period.

"I feel like this year is a critical year," he said in the documentary. "This year will probably determine what type of adult I'll grow to become.

"If it is my destiny to lead people, then this is the year to assert that character."

Directed by Pietra Brettkelly who also directed The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, Maori Boy Genius documents Ngaa Rauuira's deeply supportive family life and his emerging political consciousness over 12 months that include the birth of his fifth sibling and attending Yale University's prestigious summer semester programme.

Hailed as "inspiring" and "shrewd" by Hollywood reviewers and "a must-see" by The Daily Telegraph, Maori Boy Genius is a film with a powerful message of hope for the future of Aotearoa.

On May 2 the movie opens at Rotorua's Basement Theatre, and the Deluxe Theatre in Opotiki. May 3 it opens at the Whakamax Cinema in Whakatane and on May 9 at Bay City Cinema in Tauranga.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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