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Māori Boy Genius - in NZ cinemas this May

After wowing overseas audiences at film festivals on Berlin, Sydney and New York last year, feature documentary Māori Boy Genius is returning home for a nationwide cinema release, beginning 2 May.

Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti outside a wharenui. Image is courtesy of Pietra Brettkelly.

The film, which also played at the 2012 NZ International Film Festival and won Best Documentary at the 2012 NZ Film Awards, focuses on a year in the life of Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti.

Identified from birth as a potential future leader – of his iwi, of New Zealand, and of indigenous people around the world – the charismatic, articulate 16-year-old is under no illusions about the importance of this period.

“I feel like this year is a critical year,” he says in the documentary. “This year will probably determine what type of adult I’ll grow to become. If it is my destiny to lead people, then this is the year to assert that character.”

Directed by Pietra Brettkelly (The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins) Māori Boy Genius documents Ngaa Rauuira’s deeply supportive family life and his emerging political consciousness over 12 months that include the birth of his fifth sibling and attending Yale University’s prestigious summer semester programme.

Hailed as “inspiring” and “shrewd” by Hollywood bible Variety and "a must-see" by The Daily Telegraph, Māori Boy Genius is a film with a powerful message of hope for the future of Aotearoa.

Find screening times for a cinema near you.

Updated on 23rd July 2015