The Patriarch: It's a wrap!

Posted Saturday 06 Jun 2015

THE PATRIARCH (working title), directed by Lee Tamahori, finished filming in May after a successful 35 day shoot across 12 Auckland locations. The film reunites the team behind iconic Kiwi film Once Were Warriors including Tamahori, Temuera Morrison, and WIFT member and Producer Robin Scholes. This is Tamahori's first New Zealand film since Once Were Warriors twenty years ago.

The film is based on Whale Rider author Witi Ihimaera's novel, Bulibasha. Set in 1950's and 1960's New Zealand, Ihimaera's story follows two families, the Mahanas and the Poatas, who battle for supremacy in the shearing sheds, on the sports fields and in their own hearts.

Actor Temuera Morrison returns to the screen to play Tamihana; the figurehead and leader of the Mahana family. Nancy Brunning is cast as his wife Ramona, and young Augs Keefe was chosen to play Simeon.

"Lee's exceptional talents as a film maker were evident in Once Were Warriors and from that moment on the offers flowed in for bigger and bigger budget films.   It's very rare for people to return, let alone to a film with a much lower budget than anything he's done, since Warriors. We have Witi to thank for this. His book, Bulibasha, really appealed to Lee because it's about the people he knows and loves and wants to see portrayed in film.

"From a production point of view, the shoot was managed by a very professional team, including, off set Co Producers Janine Dickins and Unit Production Manager Honor Byrne; on set, Luke Robinson, 1st Assistant Director and Heads of Department like Designer Mark Robins, Director of Photography Ginny Loane, Wardrobe Liz McGregor - and at the heart of it all, and driving it with energy and vision, was Lee. We ended, on time, on budget and with everything we wanted in the can." says Scholes

The film is funded by New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand On Air, M?ori Television, Hopscotch eOne, Wild Bunch, and private equity investors, including a selection of 200 individuals who put in funding via the Snowball Effect equity crowd funding platform, a first for a New Zealand feature film.

The film is now in post-production and is expected to hit screens in 2016.

Production facts:

35 Shoot days

390 hours shooting

37 cast members

300 extras (approx.)

110+ Crew members

500 full-wool sheep� and then 500 shorn sheep

1 cow

5 chickens

6 horses

12 Auckland Locations

22 Vintage cars