Lee Tamahori goes back to 1830s Aotearoa for new film The Convert

Three decades of making movies and now with a new Kiwi film close to his heart, Lee Tamahori still has stories to tell.

The Convert is set in 1830s Aotearoa and has just opened in cinemas.

Confronting and unflinching, Once Were Warriors changed everything for director Tamahori. His first feature film launched him into a Hollywood career.

From Jake the Muss to James Bond, for three decades Tamahori has been telling stories from south Auckland to Hollywood and London.

More recently back home, he reunited with Temuera Morrison in 2016's Mahana. Now he goes back even further to 1830s Aotearoa during the tribal wars for The Convert.

Australian Guy Pearce crossed the Tasman to play with Tamahori as Monro, a lay preacher with a dark past.

Opposite this seasoned pro is Rangimai, a role delivered with a ferocious intensity by relative newcomer Tiaoreore Ngatai-Melbourne.

Her director knows what a talent she is and what a future she has, using his inimitable dry humour to remind her of that.

Much of the film was shot on the west coast of Auckland - stunning and untouched - and the first film crew to ever shoot here.

And despite his three Kiwi films feeling like they are worlds apart, Tamahori doesn't see it that way at all.

A Tamahori trilogy through time, The Convert is a big screen watch and has just rolled into cinemas across the motu.