Taika Waititi's Piki Films signs Māori writers for two movies and TV show about effects of colonisation

Taika Waititi's Piki Films signs Māori writers for two movies and a TV show about effects of colonisation.
Taika Waititi. Photo credit: Getty

Taika Waititi dedicated his Oscar win this year to the world's indigenous storytellers and now he's making sure we see and hear from more of them.

Piki Films, the production company of the Boy filmmaker and producer Carthew Neal, has signed Māori writers to work on two feature films and a TV show each focusing on stories about the effects of colonisation.

According to international film publication Screen Daily which broke the news, the two movies will "continue Piki's trademark blend of comedy and drama" while the series will be the company's "breakout into the thriller realm".

Details on the projects so far are as follows:

  • Film adaptation of Tina Makereti's novel The Imaginary Lives Of James Pōneke - the story of a Māori teen in the 1840s who travels to London to appear as a live exhibit amongst Māori artefacts
  • Film adaptation of Angella Dravid's stand-up comedy Down The Rabbit Hole, her true story of running away to marry a much older man on the other side of the world and ending up in prison. Briar Grace-Smith (Waru) will co-write the script with Dravid
  • TV show Better The Blood will follow a Māori detective hunting an indigenous serial killer revenging the wrongs of New Zealand’s colonisers, created by Michael Bennett and Jane Holland

Morgan Waru of Piki Films spoke to Screen Daily about the projects, saying the "authentic voices" of them are paramount.

"Globally, these calls for racial equality and reconciliation of the past are louder than ever," said Waru.

"We feel so passionately about those stories, and we have the means and momentum to bring them to a global audience."

Piki Films' previous releases include Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Jojo Rabbit and The Breaker Upperers.

When Waititi won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award for Jojo Rabbit, he said: "I dedicate this to all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art, and dance, and write stories. We are the original storytellers, and we can make it here as well."

While Waititi's role in the three new projects has not been announced, he currently has a lot already in his schedule.

He's set to write and direct an original Star Wars film and a Thor sequel, he's finishing post-production on indie sports comedy Next Goal Wins and is executive-producing comedy show Ass.

Waititi is also working on a Time Bandits show for Apple TV, the second season of Disney Plus series The Mandolorian, an animated Flash Gordon film and also We're Wolves, a sequel to What We Do in the Shadows.

He also has acting roles in upcoming films Free Guy and The Suicide Squad.