Child star from Taika Waititi's film has been sent to jail

Publish Date
Tuesday, 7 November 2017, 4:19PM
Photo / YouTube

Photo / YouTube

An award-winning actor and protege of director Taika Waititi has been locked up over his failure to complete a Dunedin rehab programme.

As a 9-year-old, Rangituatata Maakotu Ngamoki won the gong for best performance in a short film at the 2003 New Zealand Film Awards for his role in Waititi's Two Cars, One Night.

Movie stardom beckoned.

But last week, at the Dunedin District Court, the now 23-year-old Bay of Plenty man was jailed for six months for breaching a sentence of intensive supervision by consuming alcohol when barred from doing so.

A Ngamoki family member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the defendant had come to Dunedin to battle his addiction issues at residential rehabilitation facility Moana House.

He was supposed to be there for two years but lasted only six months. He was kicked out over two instances of drinking.

"Alcohol is his demon," the family member said.

"He feels that there's times when he can manage it but we know that's not the case."

The woman said Ngamoki, who also starred in a second Kiwi short film, The King Boys, was still keen to pursue a career in acting but had to conquer his vices first.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission.