rawiriRawiri Paratene gained an international profile as an actor from his acclaimed performance as Koro in the iconic New Zealand feature Whale Rider (dir. Niki Caro). But Rawiri is more than just an actor. In thirty-five years in the entertainment industry, he has won acclaim as an actor, writer, director, producer and tutor in theatre, television, radio and film.

Rawiri was a pioneering actor of New Zealand professional theatre with appearances in Shakespeare, musicals, contemporary and classical drama, children’s and Maori theatre. He has performed in hundreds of radio plays, and on television has starred in soap opera, situation comedy, sketch comedy and drama, winning a Best Actor award for Dead Certs, a teleplay which he also wrote. His film credits include Pete Horn in Marvel Comics Film Man Thing (dir. Brett Leonard) and Mulla in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (dir. Ian Mune)

As a writer Rawiri was the Robert Burns Fellow at Otago University in 1983. He won a NZ Television Award for Best Writer for his teleplay Erua which also won Best Drama (1989). He wrote the hit musical comedy Blue Smoke for the NZ Festival of Arts in 2000. He won a Mobil Radio Award for Proper Channels which he also directed. He won the Maori Trustee’s Writers Award for his first play Saturday Morning.

As a director his film & television credits include the first drama to be broadcast in the Maori language, Te Moemoea (1989). The short film Needles and Glass (co-directed with Miranda Harcourt) was invited to the Montreal Film Festival. He wrote and directed Korero Mai for the Maori Television Service which won the NZ Television Award for ‘Best Maori Programme’ 2005 and has just finished directing Whanau, a series of short serial dramas with a Maori language teaching element aimed at teenagers.

Rawiri has produced three television documentaries including Te Pahu which he co-wrote with director Merata Mita.

For all this, the personal highlight for Rawiri is his involvement as a co-devisor/ lead actor in a project called Children of the Sea (COTS) - a production originating in a series of theatre workshops in Sri Lanka for young survivors of the tsunami and the ongoing crisis of civil war. Based on Shakespeare’s Pericles, COTS has been performed all over Sri Lanka and went to the 2005 Edinburgh Festival where it won four awards including the coveted ‘Fringe First’ & ‘Spirit of the Fringe’ awards. A sequel Finding Marina has been invited back to the 2006 Festival.

Rawiri has just completed a six month season performing with the Globe Theatre in London and is now travelling the Pacific filming his documentary Cry From The Deep.

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