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"The meals are too big and everything's too loud here, the accents, it's horrible," said the filmmaker.
Waititi is working in Los Angeles so his wife collected the award on his behalf from Prime Minister Bill English at the ceremony in Auckland.
It's a two bedroom unit, and she is paying $450 a week to live there, in an area where the median rent a week is $270.
Families came from around the world to remember the 185 people lost in the 2011 quake.
Japan lost 28 lives, 12 of those being young language students in the CTV building.
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