Director James Cameron has talked about the influence of Maori and Polynesian culture on his new Avatar movies, saying he got advice from Kiwi actor Cliff Curtis on how to incorporate an alien "haka" into the new movies that are partly being filmed in New Zealand.
The Titanic director was speaking to 1 NEWS Reporter Kimberlee Downs in Sydney at the launch of a walk-through experience documenting Cameron's deep ocean explorations, when she asked him about the influence of Maori culture in his Avatar films.
'I love the sound of the Maori language, so I introduced some of the sounds into naming the animals and the Navi language and so on, hopefully not to the level of cultural appropriation but more of an homage," Cameron said.
Kiwi actor Cliff Curtis, who plays the leader of an ocean going alien race modelled on Polynesian culture called the Reef People, helped the director create a haka for them in one of the new Avatar sequels.
"I want something that is somewhat like a haka but interpreted through different body structures and how we use the tail and he said [Cliff] 'I know exactly what to do' and I said 'is this ok should we check with the iwi on this?' and he said 'I think it's a great idea, lets just do it' so there you have it," Cameron recalled about the scene.
Cameron went on to say Maori would find many "familiar" things in the world of Avatar, outlining what a big impact New Zealand has had on him since he bought parcels of land in the Wairarapa region.
He also went on to say how he and his family are vegan and are using the land to research organic farming not using animals.
Cameron will move production on Avatar 2 and 3, which are being shot simultaneously, to Wellington next year. He will then spend close to a year in the capital city working with Weta Digital and Weta Workshop on the films.