A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.


Taika Waititi


Taika Waititi, Barry Crump (based on the book "Wild Pork and Watercress" written by) | 1 more credit »
1,251 ( 310)
20 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Neill ... Hec
Julian Dennison ... Ricky
Rima Te Wiata ... Bella
Rachel House ... Paula
Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne ... Kahu
Oscar Kightley ... Andy
Stan Walker ... Ron
Mike Minogue ... Joe
Cohen Holloway ... Hugh
Rhys Darby ... Psycho Sam
Troy Kingi ... TK
Taika Waititi ... Minister
Hamish Parkinson Hamish Parkinson ... Gavin
Stu Giles Stu Giles ... Sick Man
Lloyd Scott ... Tourist


Bella and Hector, two reclusive country folk, become foster parents to Ricky, a problem child from the city. After some adjustment, things go reasonably well. However, the death of Bella means Hector now has to look after Ricky, and they didn't get along too well. Moreover, her death causes Child Services to decide to send Ricky back to the orphanage. Ricky refuses to go back and runs away, ultimately sparking a national manhunt for him and Hector. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Nature just got gangster

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including violent content, and for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Ricky mentions a situation is just like the Lord of the Rings, the Peter Jackson film series which was also filmed entirely in the New Zealand wilderness. See more »


When Kahu asks Ricky about his mom, he picks the photograph he's got of her from his pocket, and it is unfolded. The shot cuts to Kahu receiving the photograph while being folded, and then unfolding it again. See more »


Ricky Baker: [Reciting a haiku he wrote] Kingi you wanker / You arsehole, I hate you heaps / Please die soon, in pain.
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Crazy Credits

The credits include sections headed "Wildercrew" and "Wildercast", with the latter including the subheading "Wilderdogs". See more »


References The Knack... and How to Get It (1965) See more »


Milestone 2 (Skux Life)
Written by Conrad Wedde (as C. Wedde), Lukasz Pawel Buda (as L. Buda) and Samuel Scott (as S. Scott)
Native Tongue Music Publishing
Performed by Moniker
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User Reviews

Hugely enjoyable comedy adventure with serious undertones
17 April 2016 | by julian-mumfordSee all my reviews

Kiwi director Taika Waititi of "Boy" and "What We Do In the Shadows" fame will shortly be stepping into the big leagues directing the next "Thor" movie.

In the meantime he has conjured up another slice of real Kiwi life on a budget that would probably fail to cover the catering bill for his new movie. Waititi translates Kiwi writer Barry Crump's book into a screenplay full of Kiwiana, irony and humour.

We meet Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) as the local police (Oscar Kightley) and "enthusiastic" Child Care worker "Paula" (Rachel House), attempt to rehouse the young Maori lad with his new adoptive foster parents. "Aunt Bella" (Rima Te Wiata), child loving and with a heart of gold together with husband "Hec" (Sam Neill), a loner bushman with little desire to house a young delinquent.

Ricky's long list of offences are mentioned, including "smashing stuff and throwing rocks" but Paula is very determined, oft repeating her personal motto, "no child left behind".

The opening scene sets the tone perfectly, as Ricky carefully surveys his new accommodation and quietly returns to the police car.

Despite finding his new basic rural surroundings somewhat bewildering, including a gloriously bloody wild pig hunt, Ricky starts to become part of the family as he is showered by Aunt Bella's practical love and understanding.

Following an event, Ricky and Hec strike out on their own into the New Zealand bush as a national man hunt for the pair commences. Can they get on, will Hec's heart eventually melt, if indeed he can find it? This is a comedy drama with emphasis on the humour with incompetent hunters, crazy bushmen (Rhys Darby) and comical situations. However framed with underlying sadness and a serious story under pinning the whole endeavour. The tone is reminiscent of director Waititi's' "Boy" and manages to stay consistent throughout. Waititi even allowing himself a brief cameo, to great comedic effect.

There are plenty of belly laughs for those that understand and know New Zealand well. Neill essaying your everyday "she'll be right" Kiwi bloke, whilst providing a much needed straight man to all the shenanigans.

Some scenes are pushed too far, with Paula's quest going to ridiculous length's for the sake of comedy and Darby overbalancing his scenes with his usual shtick. Somehow with the solid anchor of Dennison's fresh performance and Neill's experience, the ship manages to stay the right way up.

The New Zealand bush is shown in all it's glory with the addition of a great choral track to accompany the shots of the overhead tree canopy.

Overall a much more approachable and enjoyable film than "Shadows" which will play especially well with Kiwi's and Australians but does have broader appeal.


Hugely enjoyable comedy adventure with serious undertones and represents a real return to form for Waititi. It's also good to see Sam Neill on the big screen again, opposite a great new young talent.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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New Zealand



Release Date:

1 July 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hunt for the Wilderpeople See more »

Filming Locations:

New Zealand See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$78,439, 26 June 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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