Temuera Morrison's powerful Women's Refuge appeal

Once Were Warriors star Temuera Morrison
Once Were Warriors star Temuera Morrison

Kiwi actor Temuera Morrison is throwing his weight behind a campaign to end violence against women.

In a powerful video for Women's Refuge, the actor talks about the difficulty he had in shaking the anger he brought to his role in the film Once Were Warriors.

"So here we are now in the year 2016, 20 years since Once Were Warriors but the problem's gotten worse," he says.

Two decades on from playing one of New Zealand's most violent characters, Morrison has a new role - raising awareness of our horrific rates of domestic violence.

"I do get a sense from young men. They kind of look up at Jake [the Muss, his character in Once Were Warriors] and glorify him in a way and that upsets me," he said.

That's because for some women in New Zealand, violence, control and fear are not just in the movies - they're a part of real life.

When women do leave, Women's Refuge is one of the places they turn to - and they desperately need more funds.

"It's no secret that we're all struggling to keep up with demand in terms of resources, so it's an ongoing situation," said Women's Refuge chief executive Dr Ang Jury.

The Refuge chose Morrison to front their latest campaign because of his experience playing Jake the Muss.

"This isn't Jake the Muss, this is Temuera Morrison who is a good man who has had the insight to see how playing that part in the movie actually impacted on him in a real serious way," Dr Jury said.

She's hoping his impact on the campaign will be as strong.

Donations can be made to Women's Refuge New Zealand online.