Issue date: 
Thursday, 20 June 2024




AUCKLAND, NZ (Wednesday 12 June) The poster and trailer for We Were Dangerous has been unveiled ahead of its nationwide cinema release on Thursday 22nd August.

Following its world premiere in Austin, Texas at South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in March 2024, where it was awarded the Special Jury Award for Filmmaking in the Narrative Feature Competition, We Were Dangerous will also open the NZ International Film Festival 2024.

Indiewire said it was “A hopeful – sometimes borderline exuberant – rallying cry for girls to stick together across the various divides that people use to disempower them.”

Directed by Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu Ngāpuhi and Te Rarawa (Waru, Ani), We Were Dangerous is written by cartoonist and writer Maddie Dai (Ministry of Jingle), whose work features in The New Yorker, with additional writing from Stewart-Te Whiu.

The film tells the fictional story of Nellie (Erana James), Lou (Nathalie Morris) and Daisy (Manaia Hall) who attend an institution for delinquent girls on an isolated island. The trio rail against the system, finding strength in their friendship. But this is challenged when the school’s matron (Rima Te Wiata) divides them.

Director Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu said: “The story is set in 1950s New Zealand, in a world where, ridiculously, teenage girls were seen as a risk to society. It’s a film that celebrates the joy and power of female friendships.”

Produced for Piki Films (Jojo Rabbit, The Breaker Upperers, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) by Morgan Waru and Polly Fryer; Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi, Bill Way, Elliott Whitton and Emily Gotto as Executive Producers. We Were Dangerous was shot on location in the South Island of New Zealand. Filming on Ōtamahua Island was done with the support of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke.

We Were Dangerous was made with investment from the New Zealand Film Commission, the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Grant, Fit Via Vi, Screen CanterburyNZ, Department of Post, Native Audio, and Kiwibank, the film will be distributed in New Zealand by Madman and Piki Films, and by Madman in Australia.

We Were Dangerous will open the 2024 Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival in Wellington on Wednesday 31 July and Auckland on Wednesday 7 August, and go on to screen at other festival locations throughout the country ahead of its release in cinemas nationwide on Thursday 22 August.

Image download here

For more information, please contact:

Bex Martelletti // 818

027 528 6839



Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa) was one of nine Māori filmmakers on Waru (2017), which premiered at TIFF. In 2018, Josephine was awarded the Māori Screen Excellence Award from the NZFC, alongside her fellow Waru filmmakers. Her short film Ani (2019) premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival and went onto screen at many international festivals including Toronto and Imaginative before being picked up by Searchlight Pictures Shorts. Her latest short When We Were Kids won Best Short at the New Zealand International Film Festival. This is her first directorial full length film, and she added additional writing to the film script. (2020) w

Maddie Dai started her career as an Art Director, where she won both Webby and Lovie. In 2017 her first cartoon was published in The New Yorker, they have since published over 70 of her cartoons, and two of her cartoons were performed live on Late Night with Seth Meyers. In 2020, she pivoted to screenwriting, and has worked in several television writer’s rooms, including The Power (Amazon Prime) and Our Flag Means Death (HBO). She has several original shows in development with various UK production companies, including Left Bank and DNA TV. We Were Dangerous is her first feature script.

Erana James (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Waikato Tainui) was most recently seen in Hamish Bennett and Paul Middleditch’s feature film Uproar alongside Minnie Driver, Rhys Darby, Julian Dennison and James Rolleston. Her filmography includes Amazon series, The Wilds, Stan Australia series Bad Behaviour, and New Zealand feature film The Changeover.

Rima Te Wiata’s (Ngāti Raukawa) acting career spans over four decades in theatre, film and television. In 2017 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to film and television. Her filmography includes Amazon’s The Wheel of Time and New Zealand feature films Housebound, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Pork Pie, Millie Lies Low and The Tender Trap, for which she won the 2021 Best Actress NZTV Award for her portrayal of Sharon Armstrong.

Nathalie Morris is a graduate from New Zealand’s leading drama school, Toi Whakaari. She stars as Oly in Stan series Bump, opposite Claudia Karvan and Angus Sampson. Her filmography includes Alena Lodkina’s feature film Petrol, Blumhouse Productions Black Christmas, US TV series Almost Paradise and Season 1 and 2 of One Lane Bridge.

Manaia Hall (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Manawa, Ngāti Pukenga) is 13 years old and currently studies at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu o Te Wairoa. She grew up in Auckland but moved to the upper North Island in 2022. This is her debut acting role.

Morgan Waru (Ngāti Porou) has been working in the screen industry for over a decade. Her filmography includes animation Aroha Bridge, Piki Film’s Baby Done, Red White and Brass, and Rachel House’s recently released directorial debut The Mountain

Polly Fryer is an International Emmy nominated producer for the docu drama The Golden Hour. Her filmography includes Dark Tourist for Netflix and award-winning feature documentary The Day that Changed my Life and was Supervising Producer on Hulu Series Creamerie.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 20 June 2024