Wiremu Grace, director and writer of Whakakitenga, here pictured in front of Mana Island, where the VR film is set.
In a momentous occasion for Māori art, the world’s first Māori virtual reality film has had its international premiere in Canada.
Whakakitenga, directed and written by Porirua-based Wiremu Grace, premiered at imagineNATIVE, the world’s largest indigenous film and media arts festival, in Toronto on Tuesday.
Transporting audiences to 19th Century Aotearoa, the film is an immersive, room-scale, “six-degrees-of-freedom” cinematic VR experience.
Audiences join prominent Māori chief Te Rangihaeata of Ngāti Toa Rangatira in the year 1846 as he faces the first waves of colonialism breaking against the shores of his home on Mana Island, north of the capital.