'Amiri & Aroha' began as a Maori version of Romeo & Juliet and evolved into a poignant love story, set against a background of gang rivalry and tribal hostility, filmed on the beautiful ...
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'Amiri & Aroha' began as a Maori version of Romeo & Juliet and evolved into a poignant love story, set against a background of gang rivalry and tribal hostility, filmed on the beautiful East Cape of New Zealand. Aroha, the daughter of a notorious gang leader, finds her life dominated by a childhood ceremony which pledged her to her cousin Hunapo. This union was arranged by her whanau (family) to heal a deep gangland feud. When Aroha subsequently meets her true soul mate, Amiri, the gang threaten reprisals if she marries Amiri, accusing her of bigamy. The film is Aroha's right of passage as she struggles to make sense of her past and its impact on her future.Written by
The fate of Amiri & Aroha became inextricably linked with that of another high profile New Zealand film, Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. Principal photography had just commenced on Amiri & Aroha when an industrial dispute regarding actors working conditions on The Hobbit hit the headlines in New Zealand, resulting in a high profile stand off between actors and producers. David Whittet had assembled an ensemble cast, with a mixture of up and coming acting talent from various casting agencies. Whilst all the cast had agreed to work for the experience and potential exposure in lieu of payment, once the Hobbit dispute became news, their agents started making impossible demands for an independent film maker. One by one, the lead cast members dropped out leaving the production in jeopardy. Using contacts at a local radio station, Turanga FM, David Whittet and co-producer Kristel Day set about recasting the film from local talent. See more »