Native Affairs Summer Series - Starring act for Māori teen.

In a year when Maori were making movie headlines, there was one little kiwi movie quietly winning critical praise and international awards. Orphans and Kingdoms was released in New Zealand earlier this year and it was the lead actor, teenager Calae Hignett Morgan who grabbed our attention.

The South Auckland teenager was only 13 when he filmed the Kiwi movie on Waiheke Island three years ago.

“I thought it was going to be a comedy. But they changed it up and it was really dramatic. My character had an angry nature and that had to be taught.”

The drama is about three orphan siblings who orchestrate a home invasion on Waiheke Island. Director Paolo Rotondo said that Hignett Morgan was a pleasure to work with.

“He’s humble enough to give himself to the role. He’s not ego driven,”  Rotondo said.

When Hignett-Morgan started shooting the film, he had just finished acting on the popular Kiwi hit The Dark Horse with Cliff Curtis. Hignett-Morgan is hoping his next film will be a comedy and he would love to work with Taika Waititi.