Rachel House’s first feature film set on Taranaki Maunga

by Te Ao News — 18 January 2024

The narrative revolves around Sam, a courageous young girl raised outside her Māori culture, who is determined to fulfill her mission of connecting with her ancestral mountain. She is joined by two friends as they embark on a journey in the hopes of healing her from the cancer she is battling.

Co-written by Rachel House, renowned for her roles in Moana, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Boy, and Whale Rider, along with Tom Furniss, the film was shot with the support of the Taranaki whānui. Expressing gratitude for the generosity of mana whenua, House emphasizes the significance of representing Taranaki in a story exploring themes of longing, resilience, and healing, featuring three remarkable kids embracing their best lives.

Taranaki Maunga, along with the neighboring peaks Pouakai and Kaitake, is revered by the iwi as ancestral entities. Recently granted legal personhood as part of redress for their confiscation 157 years ago, these mountains hold a central role in the storyline. House acknowledges the extraordinary gift of shooting the majority of the movie in Taranaki, emphasizing the fitting choice of having the worldwide premiere in this culturally significant location.

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