Cousins is the critically-acclaimed local film everyone needs to see

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1 January 1970

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Cousins is a touching tale about family and finding where you belong. In cinemas March 4.

Kiwi drama Cousins tells the story of Mata, Missy and Makareta Pairama, who grow up separated by distance and duty. Based on the 1992 novel by Patricia Grace, the film explores the different paths the girls followed – from the 1940s to the present day – which led them away from and, eventually, back to each other.

Young Mata, Makareta and Missy spend a blissful summer bonding with their whānau before being separated by circumstance.

Mata, the orphaned child of a Māori mother and Pākehā father, is taken from her whānau to be raised by strangers. Missy is spirited and strong, taking her place as guardian of the land while longing for Mata’s return. Makareta is raised as the great hope for her family’s future, and spends years searching for her lost cousin.

Each character is shown at three important stages of their lives – as children, young adults and older women – and the nine brilliant actors portraying the cousins during these key moments really bring the story to life with their performances. Mata is played by Te Raukura Gray, Ana Scotney and Tanea Heke; Missy by Keyahne Patrick-Williams, Hariata Moriarty and Rachel House; and Makareta by Mihi Te Rauhi Daniels, Tioreore Melbourne and Briar Grace- Smith (find out more about Briar and her connection to the film here).

Hariata Moriarty (centre) holds her own alongside seasoned actors (from left) Cohen Holloway, Cian Elyse White and Miriama Smith.

This deeply moving story – which is co-directed by Briar and Ainsley Gardiner – centres on the theme of separation and reconnection, and the belief that “shared whakapapa can never truly be cut, despite distance, time and heartbreak”.

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