12 user 8 critic

White Lies (2013)

A medicine woman - a giver of life - is asked to hide a secret which may protect one life but which will destroy another.


Dana Rotberg


Dana Rotberg (screenplay), Witi Ihimaera (novel) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Whirimako Black Whirimako Black ... Paraiti
Rachel House ... Maraea
Antonia Prebble ... Rebecca
Nancy Brunning Nancy Brunning ... Horiana
Te Waimarie Kessell Te Waimarie Kessell ... Aroha
Kohuorangi Ta Whara Kohuorangi Ta Whara ... Wirepa
Elizabeth Hawthorne ... Hospital Matron
Te Ahurei Rakuraku Te Ahurei Rakuraku ... Young Paraiti
Tahuri o te Rangi Trainor Tait Tahuri o te Rangi Trainor Tait ... Paraiti's Grandfather
Kyle Pryor ... Soldier
Rawiri Waiariki Rawiri Waiariki ... Horiana's Grandchild
Te Whenua Te Kurapa Te Whenua Te Kurapa ... Pirimahana
Tangiroa Tawhara Tangiroa Tawhara ... Woman With Bad Leg
Vanessa Paraki Vanessa Paraki ... Limping Girl
Phil Peleton ... Chemist


White Lies is a story about the nature of identity: those who deny it and those who strive to protect it. Paraiti (Whirimako Black) is a medicine woman. She is the healer and midwife of her rural, tribal people - she believes in life. But new laws are in force prohibiting unlicensed healers. On a rare trip to the city, she is approached by Maraea (Rachel House), the servant of a wealthy woman, Rebecca (Antonia Prebble), who seeks her knowledge and assistance in order to hide a secret which could destroy Rebecca's position in European settler society. If the secret is uncovered a life may be lost, but hiding it may also have fatal consequences. So Paraiti, Maraea and Rebecca become players in a head on clash of beliefs, deception and ultimate salvation. Written by South Pacific Pictures

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Redemption comes at a price. See more »



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New Zealand


Maori | English

Release Date:

28 November 2013 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Medicine Woman See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand

Company Credits

Production Co:

South Pacific Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


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Did You Know?


Official submission of New Zealand to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category. See more »

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User Reviews

6 August 2013 | by metaphorphisSee all my reviews

I agree with the majority of these reviews. I was looking up to see what other films one of the actors on White lies had been in (Taika's film Boy, must watch it again) and well I'm kind of freaked out with the luvnotwar person. Top of the Lake and White lies are both so accomplished! What on earth? Sure, a few faults here and there for both but I wouldn't think that the acting in either deserved moaning about. Yes, Elizabeth Moss accent was weird in a few places but being a character who had traveled all over the world it is little wonder the accent strays. Have you heard Anna Paquin being herself lately? Crazy accent. Very cool. And the performance of Elizabeth Moss was brilliant. There is a style of acting my mate reckons we've become accustomed to in this country. A friend, an actor, calls it "soft whisper acting". I will not attach it to any show but it definitely seems a requirement for some local drama I've watched lately and it works perfectly well too. I loved the boldness of all the actors in Top of the Lake and White Lies. I've mostly seen Rachel House, Nancy Brunning and Elizabeth Hawthorne in theatre shows some years ago now. They were fabulous in White Lies. I heard Antonia was great in Outrageous Fortune. I've been away for a few years, didn't have time to lock in to Blue Rose on my return. Anyway, thanks for annoying me enough to become a member. Might go and score some other films now. White Lies is intense and definitely worth seeing. Still thinking about it. Take a hankie.

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