Trailer Watch: A Māori Family Finds Their Way Back to One Another in “Cousins”

“People go away or they die — your land, that’s where you belong,” we’re told in a new trailer for “Cousins.” The drama is based on Patricia Grace’s novel of the same name and tells the story of three Māori cousins: Mata, Missy, and Makareta.

“Cousins” follows the trio from childhood to adulthood. When Mata is taken away from her family, she’s told, “We’re going to get you back, Mata. I promise.” The cousins’ emotional reunion is years in the making.

Te Ao Marama Baker, Te Raukura Gray, Ana Scotney, and Tanea Heke portray Mata at different stages of her life. Keyahne Patrick Williams, Rachel House, and Hariata Moriarty portray Missy, and Shannon Williams, Mihi Te Rauhi Daniels, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, and Briar Grace-Smith play Makareta.

One of New Zealand’s top films of 2021, “Cousins” is directed by Māori filmmaking duo Ainsley Gardiner and Briar Grace-Smith and made its festival debut at the 2021 Māoriland Film Festival, where it took home the People’s Choice for Best Feature Drama.

Gardiner previously co-directed “Waru,” an anthology film helmed entirely by women Māori filmmakers.

“Cousins” launches on Netflix July 22.


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