20 Jun 2022

Dame Whina Cooper: new biopic film

From Nine To Noon, 10:05 am on 20 June 2022

In 1975, Dame Whina Cooper led a land march from Te Hāpua in the far north, to Parliament in Wellington, demanding action on the loss of Māori land. "Not one more acre" became the movement's rallying cry. From an initial group of 50, the hīkoi swelled to over 5000 people, and with them, they carried a petition of 60,000 signatures to deliver to Prime Minister Bill Rowling. It was a moment in Aotearoa's history that led to a significant breakthrough in Māori land rights.  

An iconic photo captured Dame Whina's first steps on her journey from Te Hāpua, holding hands with her three-year-old granddaughter, Irenee Cooper. Now a new film called Whina is set to hit cinema screens on Wednesday - a biopic of the life of Te Whāea o Te Motu, the Mother of the Nation. Directed by James Napier Robertson and Paula Whetu Jones, it stars Rena Owen and Miriama McDowell as the trailblazing leader through her life. Kathryn speaks to Dame Whina's granddaughter Irenee, who is executive producer on the film.