Aperture 2018



Eight connected stories. One life-changing event

8 x 10 minute sequences shot by eight individual female Maori filmmakers combine to form a narrative that weaves around the death of a young boy in a Māori community.

Eight female Māori directors worked together to produce this portmanteau film which offers a fascinating insight into Māori culture. The film comprises 8 x 10 minute segments, presented as a continuous shot in real time, unfolding around the funeral of a small boy who died at the hands of his caregiver. Waru means 8 in Māori. The vignettes are all subtly interlinked, each following one of eight female Māori lead characters as they come to terms with Waru’s death and try to find a way forward in their community.

Charm, Queen of the Kitchen – Charm learns to accept that she can’t change the world.

Anahera – A teacher struggles to keep face, hiding infidelities and guilt over Waru’s death.

Mihi – A solo parent learns to listen to her children.

Em – A young woman hits rock bottom and realises that the only way is up.

Ranui – A kuia relinquishes Iwi pride in order that her mokopuna might find spiritual peace.

Kiritapu – A young wahine Māori reporter risks everything to set the story straight.

Mere – A teenage girl draws strength from her ancestors to expose her abuser.

Titty & Bash – A woman risks life to break the cycle of violence.


Official Festival Selections:

New Zealand International Film Festival 2017

Toronto International Film Festival 2017

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018


★★★★ – “a remarkable achievement – authentic, impassioned, unexpected – that stands as a testament to the radical power of cooperative film-making” — Mark Kermode, The Observer

★★★★ – “There’s something uniquely powerful about this portmanteau film made entirely by Māori women directors“— Katherine McLoughlin, The List

★★★ – “Waru lingers, disquietingly, in the mind” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“a very, very brave and important piece of filmmaking” — Mark Kermode, BBC Radio 5  [01:49:34 – 01:52:06]

“eight carefully constructed vignettes combine into a powerful whole” — Nikki Baughan, Sight & Sound

“Where are you? the film asks… Waru also speaks presciently and powerfully to the current moment in film culture – So Mayer, Literal Magazine

“Confronting, compassionate and complex, Waru demands to be seen”  Dominic Corry, NZ Herald

“Why this Kiwi drama might just be the best movie of 2017”  Graeme Tuckett, Stuff

“Stylistic boldness and an implicit call to arms make Waru a breathtaking watch”  Peter Calder, Noted

Previous Screenings:

1 Jul: Playhouse Cinema, Louth

21 Jun: Regent Street Cinema

9 May: Peterborough Film Society

13 Mar: Storyhouse, Chester

12 Mar: Thanet Film Society (Palace Cinema), Broadstairs

8 & 14 Mar: Depot, Lewes

8 Mar: Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle

8 Mar: Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast

8 Mar: Picturehouse Central, London

8 Mar: Hexham Forum

6 Mar: Screen 25, South Norwood, London

6 Mar: An Lanntair, Stornoway

6 Mar: Cinema & Co, Swansea

1 Mar: Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle

12 Feb: Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda

10 Feb: Alhambra, Keswick

10 Feb: Alhambra, Penrith

3 Feb: Strode Theatre

28-31 Jan: Ilkley Cinema

28-29 Jan: South Hill Park, Bracknell

24 Jan: Reading Film Theatre

23 Jan: MAC, Birmingham

14 Jan: Saffron Screen, Saffron Walden

10 Jan: Galeri, Caernarfon

9 Jan: HOME, Manchester

7 & 10 Jan: The Ultimate Picture Palace, Oxford

18 Dec: Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds

14 Dec-23 Dec: Oban Phoenix

3 & 5 Dec: Dukes Cinema, Lancaster

30 Nov-6 Dec: Rio Cinema, London

29 Nov: Stoke Film Theatre

28 Nov-1 Dec: Plymouth Arts Centre 

21-22 Nov: Phoenix, Leicester

17 Nov: Glasgow Feminist Arts Festival, Centre for Contemporary Arts

16-22 Nov: Watershed, Bristol

16-22 Nov: Showroom, Sheffield

16 Sep, 3pm: Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle

6 Jul, 6.30pm: The Lexi Cinema, London – followed by panel discussion with Aperture Curator, Sonali Joshi, and So Mayer. So Mayer is the author of “Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema”, and has written about Indigenous women’s and Two-Spirit filmmaking and writes for publications including Alphaville, Poetry Review, Literal and Sight & Sound.

23 Jun: Edinburgh International Film Festival




Directed by: Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Chelsea Cohen, Renae Maihi, Paula Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene

Screenplay: Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Chelsea Cohen, Renae Maihi, Paula Jones, Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu

Producers: Kerry Warkia, Kiel McNaughton

Cinematography: Drew Sturge

Editor: Rajneel Singh

Music: Lauren King

Production Designer: Riria Lee

Costume Designer: Lindah Lepou

Cast: Tanea Heke (Charm), Roimata Fox (Anahera), Ngapaki Moetara (Mihi), Awhina-Rose Ashby (Em), Maria Walker (Kiritapu), Kararaina Rangihau (Ranui), Merehaka Maaka (Hinga), Acacia Hapi (Mere), Antonio Te Maioha (Tapu), Miriama McDowell (Bash), Amber Curreen (Titty)

Country of production: New Zealand

Year: 2017

Running time: 88 mins

Languages: Māori/English + subtitles