Temuera Morrison has opened up about how Jake the Muss nearly consumed him, in a hard-hitting new video for Women's Refuge.

The Kiwi acting stalwart spoke about his role as the violent character in 1994 film Once Were Warriors, and how his character Jake's rage began to take him over.

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He says in order for Jake to be believable, he had to "get stuck in and believe it - and believe it so much that it becomes part of your make up".


He got to a point where he would walk into a room and was conscious of the fact that he "wanted everyone to feel on edge" - to think, "is he going to punch me, is he going to look at me in a nice way?"

He also recalls a time when he was so exhausted he nearly lost control.

Morrison found himself channeling too much of Jake and had to snap himself out of it.
Morrison found himself channeling too much of Jake and had to snap himself out of it.

"I was ranting and raving and screaming and yelling, and I really had to stop myself," he recalls.

"That character's there with me for life now."

Which is why he shot the video to help raise funds for the Women's Refuge's annual appeal.

Even when they filmed Once Were Warriors and could take off their costumes and tattoos at the end of the day and go home, it affected him.

"Whereas, a lot of our people they can't rub their tattoos off, they can't take their leather jackets off. That is their life, they're stuck. They're stuck in that movie," he says.

"Here we are in the year 2016, 20 years since Once Were Warriors but the problem's got worse. We speak of whanau, we speak of aroha, we say all those words but I think we're just saying the words."


He finishes by mustering support for Women's Refuge, saying "without them I think a lot of these women would have nowhere to go".

The Women's Refuge appeal runs throughout July. You can find more information at the Women's Refuge website and donate here.