Kapa haka healing James Rolleston

By Aroha Awarau , Online News - Rereātea

From the brink of death to strutting the red carpet, Māori actor James Rolleston will be at the premiere of his new film Pork Pie in Auckland tonight.

Six months on from the car crash that nearly killed him, actor James Rolleston has relied on kapa haka to help him rehabilitate.

James Rolleston says, “Just remembering the words and actions in kapa haka. It's really helped me to try and focus and remember a lot of small things.”

Rolleston says he's made a "rapid recovery" after a car accident outside his hometown of Ōpōtiki in July.

Now he's promoting his new film, playing Luke in the remake of the Kiwi classic Goodbye Pork Pie. 

Rolleston says, “The character is a joyful, comedic, charming character. I'm proud to represent Māori and being part of this film and being Māori.”

After roles in Boy, The Dead Lands and The Dark Horse, Rolleston says he will be taking a break from acting to focus on his rehabilitation.

"Doing my special therapies such as language and speech therapies, small things like reading an article in a book out loud, just so I can pronounce the pronunciation of words,” says Rolleston.

Rolleston says not all of his injuries are physical.

“Sometimes I don't feel much. I may watch a film - a sad film, a sad scene in a film and I don't feel as sad as I would, and that has all been affected. I think that's obviously effected how I'd be when I do future roles. I think with my support around me, my friends who are actors who are wanting to help me. I'll get that back.”

Rolleston performed with Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti at Te Matatini in 2015. His injuries prevent him from performing at next month's nationals in Hastings but he will still be cheering his family on.

He says, “I feel proud that's my whānau on stage and that's where I come from and they are talking about our tūpuna.”