The Best New Zealand Movies

May 27, 2024 | Geography, Movies

New Zealand is a country known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture and warm hospitality. But did you know that it has also produced some of the most unforgettable movies in cinematic history? From epic adventures to heartfelt dramas, New Zealand has provided the backdrop for countless compelling stories on the big screen. So grab your popcorn and join us as we take a journey through some of the best movies about this enchanting country.


1. Dark River (2017)

Dark River“Dark River” is a haunting and introspective film that follows Alice, a woman who returns to her rural hometown after the death of her father. Ruth Wilson gives a captivating performance as Alice, who must confront her estranged brother (played by Mark Stanley) in order to claim their family farm.






2. White Lies (2013)

White LiesWhite Lies is a thought-provoking tale that delves into the complexities of identity. It invites viewers to question the concept of self and the lengths people will go to either deny or defend it. Through its minimalist approach, the film leaves room for interpretation and contemplation. Rather than spoon-feeding information, it sparks imagination and evokes emotions and ideas within the audience.






3. From The Vine (2019)

From The VineAs the sun sets on a modern metropolis, a man stands at a crossroads. He is torn between the fast-paced, cutthroat world of corporate business and his own moral code, which has been slowly eroding under the constant pressure to succeed.






4. Savage (2012)

Savage is a raw and powerful film that explores New Zealand’s boys homes and their connection to the country’s notorious gang culture. Through the eyes of DANNY, we witness his journey spanning three decades – from traumatic experiences in state-run institutions during the tumultuous sixties, to finding belonging among street gangs in the rebellious seventies, to ultimately becoming part of the ruthless criminal underworld in the eighties. As we follow Danny’s path, we confront the harsh realities of a society that fails to support its vulnerable youth, driving them into a life of violence and crime.


5. Uproar (2023)

17-year-old Josh Waaka is entering his final year at St Gilbert’s College in 1981 New Zealand, a school known for its focus on rugby. But with the controversial Springboks’ tour and nationwide protests raging on, Josh finds himself drawn to something else entirely: acting and embracing his Māori heritage.


6. Red, White & Brass (2023)

Maka is a devoted Tongan rugby fan who will stop at nothing to attend the highly anticipated Tonga v France match in the Rugby World Cup. But there’s a catch: he’s made a bold promise to provide a brass band for the pre-match entertainment, and he has just four weeks to make it happen. With limited time and resources, Maka embarks on a journey to create the band from scratch. Inspired by a true story, this film follows Maka as he navigates through challenges and obstacles in pursuit of his dream.


7. Boy (2010)

Boy is a creative soul with a deep admiration for the legendary Michael Jackson. He lives in a small town with his brother Rocky, their quirky cousins, and their loving Nan. But Boy’s ultimate hero is none other than his father Alamein, who he envisions as a fearless deep sea diver, brave war hero, and even a distant relative of the King of Pop himself. However, the reality is far from his dream as Alamein is a bumbling wannabe gangster who has spent the past seven years in prison for robbery.


8. The Convert (2023)

In 1830s New Zealand, lay preacher Thomas Munro seeks redemption from his dark past. Upon arriving in the British settlement of Epworth, he becomes entangled in a conflict between Māori tribes and witnesses the slaughter of innocents. As Munro faces racism and ostracism from the white townsfolk, he realizes he is merely a pawn in a game of power. With war looming between the tribes, he must confront his own beliefs and decide his role in this tumultuous world.

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David B