NZ on Screen releases Kingpin, Mark II and Kingi’s Story (full-length!)

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New Zealand on Screen has just announced that the classic 80s film trilogy – Kingis Story, Kingpin, and the award-winning Mark II – in full-length are now available.

These stories of Maori and Polynesian youth hold up remarkably well, and present an honest, kinetic and confronting take on growing up young, brown and on the wrong side of the tracks in 80s NZ.

The films were arguably neglected at the time of their release, and this is an exclusive chance to view important landmarks of Aotearoa screen history, from the bros-in-borstal sagas of Kingis Story and Kingpin to road movie Mark II (described as a Polynesian Easy Rider).

Mike Walkers telemovie is no Polynesian Goodbye Pork Pie. Pork Pie was a fantasy trip. This is the rollicking real thing … John Paga, Auckland Star, 06 November 1986

The stories evolved from a unique collaboration between filmmaker Mike Walker and a group of young inmates in a Levin correctional facility, Kohitere Boys Training Centre, in the 70s and 80s. Particularly significant was his mentor relationship with actor-writer Mitchell Manuel, who starred in all three films and co-wrote Kingpin and Mark II.

As Manuel reflects in his written background pieces for these titles:

Michael Walkers vision was to bring his passion to the screen but with a Polynesian flavour. Michael was sincerely interested in Polynesian life and Maori stories, and I think he saw uniqueness in the stories which Im sure he hoped would enlighten others.

These films – streetwise, unpretentious – are stirring testament to Walkers conviction. They screened from Manukau to Moscow and won top gongs at NZ Film and TV Awards. All are generously able to be embedded. Enjoy!

Watch the first clip here (18 mins):


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