The Amiri & Aroha Blog
The Official Blog for David Whittet's Novel and Film Trilogy

Casting Call with Turanga FM

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As a result of the Hobbit factor I was well into production without three of my leading players and the majority of my supporting cast.

It was Kristel’s hard work on the local casting call in Gisborne which saved the film. Throughout the development of Amiri & Aroha I had felt I was without one key person I needed to make the film, someone with organizational skills who would take on the casting and production liaison roles. In Kristel I had found that key player and it was great to welcome her on board as co-producer.

Following the radio interview on Turanga FM and the successful audition, the film as suddenly back in production with another great ensemble cast.

We had seasoned actors - we cast Shayne Biddle, recently seen in The Strength of Water, as Hunapo and Walter Walsh, who played an Orc in The Lord of the Rings, as Aroha’s father Tautaru.

Perhaps most exciting development was the undiscovered talent we uncovered at the audition. Michael Hollis and Cushla Tangaere, both presenters from Turanga FM, were cast as Amiri and Matakite respectively. Margie Poi, a raw talent, plays Aroha’s mother Ngaio and local Te Karaka boy Mathew Wikotu is the young Hunapo. Mathew has a soulful look perfect for the confused boy who must become a gang leader.

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Click here for a slide show of the updated cast following the Gisborne Casting Call