Cliff Curtis says he wants to look into his whakapapa to find an ancestor he can base his Avatar character on.
The Hollywood A-lister from Rotorua will play Avatar’s new lead character Tonowari, in the movie’s next four instalments.
Curtis joined Kawe Kōrero Reporters to talk about his preparation for the role.
He says, “I want to draw strongly on my taha Māori and our taonga tuku iho o ngā tupuna. I’m looking for ways to make connection there.”
Curtis says he may look to base his character on his ancestor Ohomairangi’s parents, who lived before the time of the migration of the Te Arawa conoe to New Zealand.
He says it’s still early days and he’s only just starting to learn what the Avatar world looks like for his character.
Curtis says, “These characters are 9 feet tall, so I think about how that fulla would stand and how he would move and how he would hold himself. So I’m sort of starting there.”
He says, “My iwi that I’m from is Metkayina.”
“Our iwi is a reef people which means we’re in the moana. And I think there’s something about wanting to represent these iwi, these tangata whenua well. With dignity.”