Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Green carpet rolled out for Taika Waititi’s latest film Next Goal Wins

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Hanalei Foliaki | Reporter/Director

Taika Waititi’s latest film offering Next Goal Wins is set for release in local theatres this December. 

Inspired by the compelling 2014 documentary about the American Samoan football team’s quest to score a single goal; Taika’s Hollywood twist promises a blend of emotion, laughter, and a dash of Pacific humour. 

The film’s stars gave an insight into the production and the significance of portraying a unique story on the global stage at its ‘green carpet’ premier this week.

Oscar Kightley, who plays Tavita in the film, was proud to be part of the project.

“I knew when the doco came out that this was a cool story… but I think it’s quite special that Taika did it and because it was Taika, he was able to give it that Hollywood treatment,” he says. 

Samoan actor Semu Filipo, who portrays Rambo, emphasised the importance of having Pacific narratives like this. 

“For me, this story in itself is service to the Polynesian community but also to Samoans, American Samoa, and the stories that we tell from our point of view.” 

The essence of Samoan pride was a running theme through the night, especially with  Beulah Koale who plays protagonist Daru.

“The fact that I can scream out to my people, make a movie for my people, about my people… makes me emotional, makes me happy,” he says.

David Fane, known as Ace in the film, shared the sentiment of pride acknowledging the significance of his work in the film industry, especially in the eyes of his parents. 

“It’s always that nice acknowledgment that for your parents… you did something,” he says.

But it was the experience of working on a larger scale with Taika Waititi that had its own set of perks according to Oscar.

“We’re used to making art but not in that space together… even having a trailer? So getting to do something at that level with that, on that scale was really something I’ve not experienced before”.

Amid the excitement of a Pacific Hollywood film coming together, the cast admitted their off-screen football skills weren’t as polished as their on-screen portrayals. 

“You’re gonna see that we’re terrible at football… I’ll never run again, give me some weights any day of the week…” said Beulah. 

With its release timed perfectly for the summer, Oscar reminds viewers of the original documentary for a deeper appreciation of the film. 

“Remember, there’s a doco about what really happened… watch that and say ‘I love these guys’ and then come and watch Taika’s version of it.”

Next Goal Wins hits cinemas across Aotearoa on the 7th of December.



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