Temuera Morrison sees film potential in Orakau battle

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2013
Temuera Morrison
BRUCE MERCER/ Fairfax NZ

PROJECT AMBASSADORS: Actor Temuera Morrison and television presenter Jenny-May Coffin at the Orakau battle site memorial ahead of the 150th anniversary preparations.

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Once Were Warriors and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones star Temuera Morrison was talking about a battle of a different kind this week when he visited the historic site of the Battle of Orakau.

"This would make a great movie," Morrison said of the battle fought between Maori and the British army east of Kihikihi, in the northern King Country.

"You've got Lieutenant General Cameron on one side, Rewi Maniapoto on the other," he said.

In fact the story has been told on film twice. Rewi's Last Stand was a silent film released in 1925 and remade as a talkie in 1940.

The Battle of O-Rakau Heritage Society is starting Te Oma Roa (The Sacred Run) on April 14 from the battle site, with 75 runners and 75 walkers expected to cover the 150km to Auckland over five days.

En route the runners and walkers will visit other battle sites.

The purpose is to raise $50,000 towards a new memorial on the battle site where Maori and Pakeha fell together.

"We had Irish and Scottish guys come out here and fight against Maori," Morrison, who was filming a promotional video with former Silver Fern and sports presenter Jenny-May Coffin yesterday, said.

"There were 300 here at the pa. I know I have got the surname Morrison and I am sure that there were some Morrisons fighting on both sides.".

Both are ambassadors for the organising committee and plan to take part in the event.

"Jenny-May and I are both connected via our whakapapa [genealogy] to Rewi Maniapoto," Morrison said.

"I have only just started on the path of learning my language, and I have got interested in this as part of all that," Coffin said.

"It's part of our history and who we are."

For more details visit orakau300.co.nz.

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- Waikato Times

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