2 user 13 critic

Waru (2017)

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A powerful and challenging story surrounding the tangi (funeral) of a small boy Waru who dies at the hands of his caregiver and how the boys death impacts the community.



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Credited cast:
Awahina Rose Ashby ... Em
Jonny Brugh ... Mike
Amber Cureen ... Titty
Roimata Fox ... Anahera
Acacia Hapi ... Mere
Tanea Heke ... Charm
... Jude
... La
... Joe - Floor Manager
... Jarrod
Merehaka Maaka ... Hinga
... Ebony
... Bash
Ngapaki Moetara ... Mihi


A powerful and challenging story surrounding the tangi (funeral) of a small boy Waru who dies at the hands of his caregiver and how the boys death impacts the community.

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Release Date:

11 January 2018 (USA)  »

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NZD 215,000 (estimated)
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Did You Know?


"Waru" is the Maori word for "eight". See more »

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User Reviews

Indigenous Perspective From Indigenous People Isn't a Cliché It's their Truth
2 June 2018 | by See all my reviews

It is entirely too easy for anyone to rate films like this. Rate them low or mediocre, to critique on the child actors who have only a few seconds on screen, to try to say indigenous peoples used clichés about themselves (patently absurd because it is self-knowledge not a stereotype), the sound levels or camera angles. Not that there might not be legitimate technical complaints in a film such as this. I am not from the community of the main peoples portrayed, but I am a person of color with indigenous heritage, who has researched, live and learned more than average of accurate history and the connection of things like invasion, colonization, forced assimilation and appropriation and how it affected the native populations. So much of the western society are oblivious to this reality or they downplay it with derision as they live on land that was stolen. Places where the Original peoples still struggle, not because they are monolithic or incapable, but because they were profoundly interrupted by Europeans then, if surviving genocide, now live with discrimination, stereotyping on in their own land but where everything around them, from lessons taught in school or the cabbie who makes this pay first unlike white customers, is strategically or inadvertently made to lessen them. Most do not see how all of these things are interconnected, and the dysfunctions, the abuses, the deaths while not directly their fault, they benefit from and their presence and willful privilege minimizes. And so, when a profound story is told from an indigenous perspective, unless it somehow reaches or emulates a Euro-created interpretation of indigenous issues, it is deemed passé, always compared to a baseline of Eurocentricity.

The series of short films are terrific in it's portrayal of the ranges of reactions to the death of a small boy of a very interconnected and interactive community. Such an unfortunate event can occur in any community around the world, any social level, but this gain insight into a Maori community with the complexity of needs, accents, prejudices and posturing...or complete honesty that happen in the aftermath of such a tragedy. Take with empathy, respect what the director and participants, which although a fictional film, draws from deeply personal, painful experiences. But that doesn't matter just like my review, and basic entreaty to be empathetic and a Human Being. A message of indigenous reality to mainstream Euro-ruled society in places like the US and New Zealand, which needs to nbe heard and understood, is too often rejectedor minimized because of having privilege to ignore it or use terms like "awful cliché", when that shows they do not even understand the difference when someone from WITHIN a community presents themselves as they see it, and when someone not from that community, like non-indigenous use a stereotype to describe the indigenous.

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