Two Young Māori stars help feed needy children

By Mānia Clarke
  • Auckland

Two Māori actors are lending a helping hand to make lunches for needy Auckland school children as part of the Eat My Lunch programme.  Both are lead actors from NZ's newest feature film, Orphans and Kingdom, that hit cinemas around the country today.

Making lunches for school children who don't have any resonates personally with young Māori stars, Calae Hignett-Morgan and Hanelle Harris.

Calae, who hails from the tribes of Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāpuhi says, “I think it's cool that someone has done this for the kids, I know heaps of mates that go the schools, so I was basically making lunches for them.”

“I grew up on the marae, easy as.  These big industrial kitchens, they're exactly like being back home on a marae, it's not even a thing, second nature really,” says Hanelle from Ngā Puhi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

In the film Orphans and Kingdoms, they are part of a trio of troubled homeless siblings.  However, this is the second film for this shy lad Calae.  He starred in the film Dark Horse three years ago at the tender age of 13.

Hignett-Morgan says, “My dad helped me get in character for Orphans and Kingdoms, and for Dark Horse, I was already in character for that.  I was meant to be a shy boy, which I think I am.”

The film has received positive reviews from both New Zealand and overseas.   It was named Best Film at the Anchorage International Film Festival last year.

“It's a really bold film, it says quite a lot about New Zealand's social climate.  I think sometimes people think New Zealand's a lot better off than what I think we actually are, which is apparent by something like "Eat My Lunch,” says Ms Harris.

The pair will be at tonight's screening at the Rialto Cinema in Newmarket, and will be part of the crew for Q & A from the audience at the conclusion of the film.