One of New Zealand's most successful acting exports shares his strong, dramatic and inspirational life story.
Temuera Morrison was a local television heartthrob appearing on our screens weekly in Close to Home and Shortland Street when he gained international attention for his portrayal of the abusive and alcoholic Jake in Lee Tamahori's Once Were Warriors (1994). Amazingly, Morrison was not Lee's first choice to play Jake - the character that led him to stardom - no one thought he would actually pull it off, and yet now we can't imagine anyone else as Jake the Muss!
Morrison's vivid performance in Warriors won him the Best Actor trophy at the 1994 New Zealand Film and TV Awards, and the attention took him to Hollywood, where he went on to a number of high profile action roles including: The Island of Dr. Moreau, Speed 2: Cruise Control, and Vertical Limit. In 1999, he made a triumphant return to New Zealand to star in the sequel to Once Were Warriors, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?, which won him another Best Actor prize from the New Zealand Film and TV Awards. Morrison landed his biggest hit in 2002, when he was cast as Jango Fett in the eagerly anticipated Star Wars: Episode Two - Attack of the Clones.
The son of a musician and nephew of famed New Zealand entertainer Sir Howard Morrison, Temuera Morrison was raised in the rural backblocks of Rotorua. In Temuera Morrison: From Haka to Hollywood, he talks for the first time about these humble beginnings, his past relationships, trauma at the death of his father and most recently the sudden death of his sister. He also shares stories about his time in Hollywood and how his Maori cultural heritage is a very important part of his life.
Paul Little is one of New Zealand's most experienced journalists. He is the author of three previous biographies, Arrested Development: The Aaron Cohen Story, Hayley Westenra: The World at her Feet and Willie Apiata, VC: The Reluctant Hero.