Raglan gives movie cast a rousing welcome

By Latesha Randall

Julian Dennison speaking at the celebration - Image Richard Gemmell
Julian Dennison speaking at the celebration – Image Richard Gemmell

Taika Waititi’s latest film hit screens across the country on Wednesday 30th, with 41 towns hosting ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ premiere events. Raglan went all-out with a huge kune kune pig attending, dressed-up dogs, and many Swanndri-clad, gumbooted folks doing their best ‘gone bush’ impressions.

Raglan’s effort was rewarded when Hunt for the Wilderpeople declared the Raglan Old School Art Centre premiere the rural cinema winner, which meant a visit from Taika Waititi himself along with Julian Dennison (Ricky Baker) and Rima Te Wiata (Aunty Bella) on Sunday afternoon.

Raglan Old School Art Centre got out the red carpet for the event, rallying together a team of volunteers to decorate with ferns, trees, and even recruiting a few horses to come along. The town turned out in force with creative costumes that outshone the premiere, competing for prizes that included genuine Swanndris, signed posters, Heineken beers, and jars of Raglan Coconut Yoghurt. ‘Bush tucka’ provided by True Food and local Kaumātua were also a hit, Julian Dennison looking particularly stoked with the swannie-themed cupcakes.

A karakia welcomed the stars upon arrival, then each of the cast spoke to the crowd, Waititi saying that he ‘loved the community spirit of Raglan and enjoyed giving people a reason to laugh’, and Dennison stating that the ‘hog on a hog was awesome.’  An avalanche of selfies ensued following the speeches – eager youngsters especially keen to meet the stars.

The following 5pm showing of the film had a surprise guest – Julian Dennison decided to stay in Raglan for the evening, and those attending loved listening to ‘Ricky Baker’ crack up at his own antics.

There are more showings of this classic Kiwi film coming up – see the Raglan Old School Art Centre website for details.

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