Oscar Kightley's new movie Dawn Raid documents the rise and devastating fall of Aotearoa's first hip-hop music label

A new movie directed by Oscar Kightley will revisit the journey of Dawn Raid, the New Zealand music label behind the biggest hits of Savage, Scribe, Aradhna and many more homegrown hip-hop acts.  

Dawn Raid tells the story of Aotearoa's first ever hip-hop label of the same name, started by the "unlikely duo" of Brotha D and Andy Murnane. 

"I got this thing in my head, I'd be a millionaire by the time I'm 21," Murnane says in the film's trailer, released this week and launched first with Newshub. 

The film documents the success Dawn Raid and its artists enjoyed, opening for acts like Beyonce, 50 Cent and Wu-Tang Clan, "living the dream and travelling the world". 

"That was some crazy superstar shit that we were experiencing," Mareko says in an interview. 

As well as being a story of "achievement and cultural empowerment", director Oscar Kightley says the movie is also "a narrative of failure, or crushing defeat and devastating loss". 

Dawn Raid's key players discuss the demise of the label in the trailer, with Murnane claiming there was a point they "took their eye off the ball" and things began to take a turn for the financial worse. 

"Everything that we had worked for was slipping through our fingers," says Savage in one interview. 

"We have a dark part of our heart from what happened," Murnane says, implying some kind of undefined betrayal from Dawn Raid's business partners. 

Kightley, who made the movie with the producers of McLaren and The Dead Lands, says above all else the movie is a story of rebirth. 

"Of a culture, a people, an art form. And of the legacy that rebirth has left behind."

The release of the film's trailer comes off the back of a resurgence of Savage's hit song 'Swing' thanks to a viral TikTok trend that sees the track remixed with Coldplay's 'Viva La Vida'. The social media challenge has seen 'Swing' go double platinum in the US more than a decade on from its original release. 

Dawn Raid hits cinemas on January 21 next year.