Maori Boy Genius

Pietra Brettkelly
2011 | 83 mins | New Zealand

Ngaa Rauuira is a prodigy and a political force to be reckoned with as he rails against the statistics of his society: the predominance of uneducated youth, 40% imprisonment among adults, and alarming suicide rates. He is also 16 years old and about to leave New Zealand to attend classes halfway around the world at Yale University. In this inspiring coming-of-age profile, this young national hero shoulders the weight of what everyone (including himself) believes to be his destiny—to become the voice and hope of his people—while at the same time trying to fit in with his peers and maintain some normalcy in a teenage life that is anything but ordinary.


Whose Story Is It? 

In my most recent film Maori Boy Genius I'm interested as a first generation New Zealander to wonder what my future and my country's future is and could a charismatic, bi-cultural, indigenous person as I found in Ngaa Rauuira truly become my future leader?  I don't believe New Zealand is there yet - so then who and where is this person now, who may challenge our historical norm of a white Prime Minister?  (As an aside, I actually tease Ngaa Rauuira that its not actually him that I hope to vote for in the future - but a female version of him!)

Pietra Brettkelly | Director, Maori Boy Genius