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Maori Women Take Center Stage in New Zealand Film


“Cousins," a new film from New Zealand, makes its Hawai‘i premiere this week. Based on a 1992 novel with the same name, it focuses on three women—three cousins—over the course of several decades. The film highlights the importance of familial ties and the repercussions when one of them is taken away. Family, or whānau in Maori, is central to the Maori culture—one of the many things it has in common with the Hawaiian culture.

The Conversation’s Russell Subiono sat down with directors Ainsley Gardiner and Briar Grace-Smith to talk more about the film. The film makes its Hawai‘i premiere at Consolidated Theatres Ward on Friday. It will also stream on U.S. Netflix starting July 22.

This segment aired on The Conversation on June 30, 2021.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at
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