Once Were Warriors

1994 film by Lee Tamahori

Once Were Warriors is a 1994 New Zealand film about a family descended from Maori warriors who is bedeviled by a violent father and the societal problems of being treated as outcasts.

Directed by Lee Tamahori. Written by Riwia Brown, based on Alan Duff's bestselling first book by the same name.
Her only chance for the future is to embrace the power of her past. (taglines)

Beth Heke

  • Our people once were warriors. But unlike you, Jake, they were people with mana, pride; people with spirit. If my spirit can survive living with you for eighteen years, then I can survive anything.

Jake "The Muss" Heke

  • Cook the man some fuckin' eggs!
  • I bought seafood today - bloody everything! Just wanted to put a smile on her face. Think she'd let me? Not a chance. All I said was that I got laid off. Anybody would've thought I'd told her my prick had dropped off!
  • Barman! 6 milkshakes, easy on the ice-cream.
  • You're a fuckin' mess! Don't you ever speak to me again, you hear?
  • [after beating up a patron] I was right. Too much weights, not enough speedwork. Useless prick.
  • [reading about Grace's rape in her diary] Uncle Bully...UNCLE FUCKING BULLY!


Te Tupaea: If you want to smash things, boy, you start with me! You think you're man enough to hold a taiaha, boy?
Boogie: I hate this fucking place!
Te Tupaea: You're not supposed to like it!
Boogie: Let me go, you black bastard!
Te Tupaea: We are the same colour, boy! The British used to think the bayonet was the most lethal of all hand-to-hand combat weapons, till they came across our warriors, who fought with a taiaha. You think your fist is your weapon? When I have taught you, your mind will be. You'll carry your taiaha inside you.

Beth Heke: [about Boogie] He's gone! He's gone to welfare! And you slept through the whole bloody thing.
Jake Heke: Is that all? Is that what all this slamming of fucking doors, crying and carrying on is about?

Jake Heke: You're still a bloody attractive woman, you know.
Beth Heke: What? After you take after me with your fists? Make me sick.

Beth Heke: You raped a 13 year old girl and sat here drinking with her father while the rest of us buried her!
Bully: You should learn to control your Missus.
Beth Heke: Sneaking around the house laying your filthy fucking hands on my baby!

Jake Heke: I'll kill you first!
Beth Heke: Well go on, do it! You're still a slave Jake. To your fists. To the drink. To yourself. Well go on - kill the bloody lot of us!

Jake: Well fuck off then! You'll get nothing from me!
Beth: You have nothing I want, Jake.

Huata Heke: Where are we going mum?
Beth Heke: We're going home.
[they drive off in the car]
Jake Heke: Oh fuck all that warrior shit! You'll be back, you'll fucking see! You need me! You fucking want me! You'll be back! Fuck you, Beth! Go on, go!


  • Her only chance for the future is to embrace the power of her past.
  • A family in crisis, a life in chaos... Nothing is more powerful than a mother's love.


Wikipedia has an article about: