6 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

A picturesque family drama
8 August 2017 | by eddie_bagginsSee all my reviews

In 1994 relatively unknown New Zealand based director Lee Tamahori made Once Were Warriors.

A haunting drama centred around a group of native Maori's, Once Were Warriors is one of New Zealand's most respected films and set Tamahori into a career in Hollywood were he went on to direct a group of relatively forgettable films such as Die Another Day and The Edge, but after 20 plus years plying his trade in the land of dreams and big budgets, Tamahori has returned to the beautiful shores of his homeland to helm quiet family drama Mahana, that in turn reteams him with his Warriors breakout star Temuera Morrison.

Here playing the Mahana family matriarch, the Mahana's a group of farmers in 1960's New Zealand, Morrison still cuts an imposing figure but like the film itself, his granddaddy Mahana just isn't as fully formed and memorable as Mahana the film could've so easily been and while this handsomely crafted drama attempts the epic, this is more middle of the range than Tamahori's home country return would've initially seemed to be on paper.

All the hallmarks of a captivating family drama are here, from the young teenage centrepiece Simeon, here played by Akuhata Keefe who doesn't exactly engage to the level needed, the 1960's settings, family mysteries and tensions between rival farming families but Mahana always feels like a glass half-full experience and while there's emotional material at the core of this tale, Tamahori and his cast can't make the audience commit to proceedings like Once Were Warriors so easily did.

One thing that is for sure however is that Mahana absolutely looks stunning, it'd certainly take a fair effort to make the natural surrounds of New Zealand look anything but wondrous but Tamahori is clearly relishing the chance to get back on home soil and showcase the vast and plenteous lands of this magical country and the 60's time period allows things to look even more appealing as the audience is transported back to a time and place where nature was still king.

Final Say –

It's great to see Tamahori back home and once more working with the underrated Morrison and it's especially nice to see Tamahori step away from forgettable Hollywood actioners but while Mahana has all the elements of a potential new classic NZ based drama you can't help but feel this 90 minute film is just a slight cut above a made for TV experience that could've benefited greatly from a tighter script and a sharper execution, even if the backdrop of New Zealand makes for a constantly eye-capturing tale, just not one that captures the heart.

3 interrupted cinema screenings out of 5

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