5 user 43 critic

Mahana (2016)

From the author of "The Whale Rider", a tale of family rivalry and reconciliation, set against the stunning backdrop of rural New Zealand in the 1960s.


Lee Tamahori


John Collee (screenplay), Witi Ihimaera (novel)
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Temuera Morrison ... Grandfather Tamihana Mahana
Akuhata Keefe Akuhata Keefe ... Simeon Mahana
Nancy Brunning Nancy Brunning ... Ramona Mahana
Jim Moriarty Jim Moriarty ... Rupeni Poata
Regan Taylor Regan Taylor ... Joshua Mahana
Maria Walker Maria Walker ... Huria Mahana
Sienna MacKinlay ... Gloria Mahana
Tuhiwhakauraoterangi Wallace-Ihakara Tuhiwhakauraoterangi Wallace-Ihakara ... Hope Mahana
Kyra McRae Kyra McRae ... Faith Mahana
Eds Eramiha ... Pani
Ngahuia Piripi ... Miriam Mahana
Matariki Whatarau Matariki Whatarau ... Mohi
Miriama McDowell ... Aunt Saphora
Aroha Rawson Aroha Rawson ... Aunt Ruth
Yvonne Porter Yvonne Porter ... Poppy Poata


From the author of "The Whale Rider", a tale of family rivalry and reconciliation, set against the stunning backdrop of rural New Zealand in the 1960s.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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New Zealand


English | Maori

Release Date:

3 March 2016 (New Zealand) See more »

Also Known As:

The Patriarch See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Patriarch Limited See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Barbers Elaine and Calab are from Vinny's Barber Shop Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand. See more »


Features 3:10 to Yuma (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

An uplifting and inspiring story
19 June 2018 | by p-seed-889-188469See all my reviews

I see this movie has been given a bit of a drubbing by many critics. This is somewhat confusing for while it may not be "Gone with the Wind" or "Citizen Kane", it is a far, far better movie than a great many movies that have been reviewed far more favourably.

First up I would like to give a HUGE vote of thanks for a movie that shows the Maori people in a positive light, this must be a first. I am fed up to the back teeth with movies that show the gangs and the violence, not that these do not exist in any race, but enough already, we get the picture. What we badly need are some positive role models to aspire to and this movie is a step in the right direction. So bravo for that.

Not that Mahana is a "Maori" movie as such, for while the main characters are indeed Maori they could be any race or any mixture of races, they are simply people in a particular time and place, struggling like everyone else.

This movie has been described by some as a "pot boiler" and a "melodrama", rather unfairly I feel. I have seen a few potboilers in my time and this isn't one of them. And while there are a number of scenes that are overly sentimental or just plain unbelievable (the opening car chase and the horse in the cinema, for instance) in the overall sweep of the movie I think these are acceptable without rendering the entire movie a "melodrama". Personally I would say that Tamihori/Morrison's "Once were Warriors" is just as, if not more, melodramatic than "Mahana", yet ironically it didn't get branded as such because it was a "serious" movie with "serious" themes, whereas Mahana is "just" a story and doesn't get off so lightly.

As stories go it is a relatively simple one, not unlike "Warriors" in some respects since Temuera Morrison virtually reprises Jake the Muss. The acting is superb all round, and the cinematography breathtaking so full marks for technical aspects.

Seeing "Mahana" may not have changed my life but then again very few films have. But I enjoyed this movie far more than I expected and felt better for having seen it, so what more can you ask?

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