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Lee Tamahori. Film making in the beginning. He got his foot in the door when he got his first job in the film and television industry working as a boom operator for no money. Biography.

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Lee tamahori

Lee Tamahori

Film making in the beginning
Film making in the beginning

He got his foot in the door when he got his first job in the film and television industry working as a boom operator for no money.


Tamahori was born in Wellington, where he began his career as a commercial artist and photographer. He landed his first job as a boom operator for no money, working for Television New Zealand, just getting his foot in the door of the film industry. While working on some of the Kiwi classics such as Bad Blood and Goodbye Pork Pie, Geoff Murphy offered Lee the opportunity to work as an assistant director on the film Utu. He didn’t find any directing jobs so in 1986 he co-founded a commercial production company called Flying Fish, and went on to direct over 100 Commercials to date. He then wen on to direct his first movie Thunderbox, Tamahori’s first drama series. Tamahori got his first big break when he directed Once Were Warriors which out grossed Jurassic Park which won awards all around the world. Tamahori then went to work in America on his next movie Mulholland Falls in 1996 and to date has worked on several award winning films in the United States

Films they have directed
Films they have Directed

  • Thunderbox (1989) – Writer Bruce Stewart

  • Once Were Warriors (1994) - Produced by Communicado Productions. Funded by New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand On Air. Written by Rewia Brown

  • Mulholland Falls (1996) –Produced by MGM, Largo Entertainment, Polygram Filmed Entertainment and the Zanuck company. Screenplay by Pete Dexter.

  • The Edge (1997) – Produced by Art Linson, written by David Mamet

  • Along Came a Spider (2001) – Screenplay by Marc Moss, Produced by Paramount Pictures

  • Die Another Day (2002) – Produced by MGM, Screenplay by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

  • xXx: State of the Union (2005) – Screenplay be Rich Wilkes, Produced by Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios and Original Film.

  • Next (2007) – Screenplay by Jonathan Hensleigh, by Paramount Pictures, Relolution Studios and Initial Entertainment Group

  • The Devil’s Double (2011) – produced by Corsan, Corrino Media Corporation and Stacato Films. Screenplay by Michael Thomas.

    Episodes Tamahori has also Directed:

  • The Sopranos ( 1 episode – 2000)

  • The Ray Bradbury Theatre ( 3 episodes)

Preferred styles
Preferred Styles

Lee Tamahori prefers to direct Action films. Tamahori likes anything with sex, violence and fighting.

Current film project
Current Film Project

Tamahori is not currently working on anything at the moment as he has just finished working on “The Devil’s Double” release 29th July 2011

Significance impact of their film or contribution to new zealand society
Significance/Impact of their filmor Contribution to New Zealand Society

The significance of Lee Tamahori’s work, as a director, to New Zealand, is that his films made a lot of money to the Film Commission. For example his best known work is on the film “Once Were Warriors” where it made over 6,795,000 NZ dollars in 1995. The impact of “once Were Warriors” was that it showed the world the true identity of what some New Zealanders are actually like, that they’re not farmers in this vast land, living in the middle of nowhere. some people are child abusers, drug addicts, wife beaters, controlling and also poor. A large quantity of New Zealand home owners live in run down houses owned by the government and get their money from dealing on the street. New Zealanders were very surprised at how Tamahoriportrayed NZ and how it didn’t do that much damage to our tourist industry