Whina 1080x1080.jpg

A timely biopic of the trailblazing female Māori leader, Dame Whina Cooper, whose extraordinary life saw her break gender boundaries, champion innovation, and fight for the recognition of her own culture, all the while staying true to her heart and her beliefs.

Hokianga, 1895. A baby is born, but isn’t breathing. The father, a Māori chief and a Catholic catechist, sprinkles the baby with Holy Water, baptising ‘Joseph’. But when the baby splutters to life and loudly proclaims herself, the family realise that it’s a girl. Josephine. WHINA for short. Whina grows to understand her leadership role in difficult times and believes in her own indomitable spirit. For nearly a century, she never stopped asserting the rights of her people – land rights, women’s rights, education rights – and striving for unity between Māori and Pākehā.

In 1975, Whina, frail but still sharp as a knife, is roused to unite Māori to fight not only for their land, but for their very existence. Beginning at front Te Roopu O'Te Matakite, she leads a sacred hīkoi over six hundred kilometres, from the top of New Zealand to Parliament House in Wellington.

Whina charts the tumultuous personal journey and unshakeable inner strength that led Whina Cooper to become one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most formidable leaders.

Cast James Rolleston, Rena Owen, Miriama McDowell, Vinnie Bennett, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne

Director James Napier Robertson, Paula Whetu Jones


  • Sunday, 27 November 2022 | 05:00 PM - 06:45 PM
  • Wednesday, 30 November 2022 | 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM


Cowra Civic Centre, 104 Darling Street, Cowra, 2794, View Map

Google Map