The 5 Must See NZ Films

The 5 Must See NZ Films

So, you fancy watching a slice of NZ? Look no further than our staff top 5 picks, that really are compulsory viewing. You’ll see our Kiwi culture past and present woven throughout these amazing films. Enjoy!

#1 Hunt for the Wilderpeople

2016 | Comedy, Drama | Madman
Directed by Taika Waititi
Starring Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Rhys Darby, Oscar Kightley, Rachel House

hunt for wilder people

Taika Waititi’s (Boy) adaptation of Barry Crump’s Wild Pork and Watercress. A national manhunt is ordered for rebellious kid Ricky (Julian Dennison) and his foster uncle (Sam Neill) who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.

This is a fantastic comedy and coming-of-age story. Two thumbs up!

#2 Boy

2010 | Comedy, Drama | Transmission
Directed by Taika Waititi
Starring James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone-Whitu, Taika Waititi


Taika Waititi’s second feature film (after Eagle vs. Shark and episodes of TV’s Flight of the Conchords), is a coming-of-age comedy set in the ’80s, East Coast, New Zealand.

A touching and very funny film, set among a very NZ landscape.

#3 The World’s Fastest Indian

2005 | Drama, True Story | Becker
Directed by Roger Donaldson
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Diane Ladd, Paul Rodriguez, Bruce Greenwood, Greg Johnson

anthony hopkins

From Roger Donaldson (Smash Palace), the true story of Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) from Invercargill who set out to set the land speed record at the ripe old age of 68.

A gripping flick that is sure to please the family.

#4 Whale Rider

2003 | Drama | Buena Vista
Directed by Niki Caro
Starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis


On the east coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their presence there dates back a thousand years or more to a single ancestor, Paikea, who escaped death when his canoe capsized by riding to shore on the back of a whale. From then on, Whangara chiefs, always the first-born, always male, have been considered Paikea’s direct descendants.

This one simply must be seen to be appreciated for its beauty.

#5 Once Were Warriors

1994 | Drama | Footprint
Directed by Lee Tamahori
Starring Temuera Morrison, Rena Owen, Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell, Julian Arahanga, Taungaroa Emile, Cliff Curtis, Ian Mune, Anita Kerr-Bell


The hard-hitting New Zealand classic about a violent and troubled family in South Auckland, based on Alan Duff’s novel. Directed by Lee Tamahori and featuring a towering performance from Temuera Morrison as Jake the Muss.

Well this one is not for the faint hearted. Definitely adults only material. It is one of the most well-known NZ films.