Mt. Zion

DRAMA; 1hr 36min

STARRING: Stan Walker, Temuera Morrison

Field of dreams: from left, Troy Kingi, Walker and Morrison

Turei (Walker, the 2009 Australian Idol winner) is hell bent on living his dream — not so easy when you’re a potato picker’s son in backwoodsy Pukekohe, New Zealand, and your dream is to sing live at a Bob Marley concert. The year is 1979, Marley is playing Auckland and Turei and his band have a shot at being the opening act. This doesn’t sit well with his overbearing dad (Morrison), even though anyone with two ears can hear that Turei has the plaintive wail of a dark angel and by rights should also have Stardom written all over him.


Mt. Zion is a small and rustic movie with affirming values, real, rough-hewn performances and soul-stirring, bluesy numbers. It champions the beauty of family and community without sugar-coating the shortcomings of either as Turei endures a steep fall from grace. He never falls too far below a redemptive line, however. Writer-director Te Arepa Kahi is plainly a glass-half-full kind of guy.