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Actor in new local film The Legend of Baron To'a had 'responsibility' to Pasifika community

The Legend of Baron To'a is a new local film out in New Zealand cinemas on Thursday, with a cast largely led by Māori and Pasifika actors. 

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Uli Latukefu says his favourite part about making the movie was inspiring young Polynesians. Source: Breakfast

It's an action/comedy directed by Shortland Street's Kiel McNaughton and has been described as The Karate Kid meets South Auckland. It's a home coming story.

Appearing on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning the movie's lead actor Uli Latukefu addressed the importance of Pasifika representation in film. 

"I think you carry a bit of responsibility and a lot of pressure to represent," he said.

Latukefu plays Fritz a Tongan entrepreneur who has been living in Australia. Fritz returns home to learn the warrior ways of his Dad, so he can get his family's treasured pro-wrestling title belt back from local gangsters.

"I certainly think that we're aware that a lot of our people are watching and I think we did that really well in this film, we paid attention to the Tongan culture, I'm born of Tongan parents but raised in Australia.

But it's not just about representation for the audience, it's also for those working on set. 

"One of my favourite parts of making the movie was having really young Polynesian faces and kind of being enamoured about 'oh man this is how we make movies'. 

"For me it was really warming to see people inspired in that way so I'm really looking forward to the response and for people to go out and watch."