Apr 17, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

A Maori boy genius – The Making of a Prodigy

2 min read


He uira ki te rangi he tauira ki te whenua. Like lightning in the sky, here is an example on earth

Auckland filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly explores the making of a prodigy in her latest documentary MAORI BOY GENIUS which screens on Maori Television on 12 November at 8.30pm.

The one-hour documentary tells the story of Ngaa Rauuira Puumanawawhiti, a Hawkes Bay teenager whose educational drive saw him accepted into Yale University at an age most people are still at high school.

A product of the kura kaupapa Maori language education system, Ngaa Rauuira, learnt English when he was four and continued to show an extraordinary talent for learning.

The eldest of six children in a low-income family, he started his first university degree when he was 12 and then set his sights on securing a place at Yale.

At 16, that goal became a reality and Ngaa Rauuira headed to the United States to attend a summer session at the prestigious Ivy League school.

MAORI BOY GENIUS portrays Ngaa Rauuiras journey from provincial New Zealand to New Haven, Connecticut and the personal and educational challenges he faced along the way.

Brettkelly, who is best known for the film The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, says Ngaa Rauuira is an eloquent and inquisitive young subject whose charisma takes up the screen.

In the story of Ngaa Rauuira and his whanau I have been allowed to explore the future of an exciting young man with political aspirations and educational plans beyond our shores, confident that his future success lies in the strength of his Maori culture and language in a contemporary, international world, she says.

MAORI BOY GENIUS truly is a coming of age film, not just of Ngaa Rauuira but hints at the coming of age of New Zealand, of a future of true biculturalism and a genuine respect for diversity.

Tune in to Maori Television to hear Ngaa Rauuiras inspiring story in MAORI BOY GENIUS on Saturday 12 November at 8.30pm.

MAORI BOY GENIUS screens on Saturday, 12 November at 8.30pm as part of the Pakipumeka Aotearoa New Zealand documentary series.


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