Screened as part of NZIFF 2022

A Boy Called Piano - The Story of Fa'amoana John Luafutu 2021

Directed by Nina Nawalowalo Aotearoa

A heart-breaking story detailing Faʻamoana John Luafutu’s time as a state ward. Using his voice for the voiceless, Luafutu vitally brings this story to light. A must-watch for all New Zealanders.

Aug 03

ASB Waterfront Theatre

Aug 04

ASB Waterfront Theatre

57 minutes DCP




Katherine Wyeth

Executive producer

Tom McCrory


Jess Charlton

Additional cinematography

Simon Baumfield


Lala Rolls


Mark Vanilau

Sound design

Mike Gibson

Sound recordist

Craig Mullis


Gareth Evans


Fa'amoana John Luafutu
Matthias Luafutu
Tāne Luafutu
Micah Luafutu
Aaron McGregor
Tupe Lualua
Patrick Nawalowalo McCrory
Vini Ellison
Xavier Ikin-Manulevu


Montreal Independent 2022


Best Feature Documentary, Montreal Independent Film Festival 2022

Aotearoa New Zealand films at NZIFF 2022 are proudly supported by


At 11 years old, Faʻamoana John Luafutu was taken to the Auckland Family Court, and made a ward of the state. He was then sent to Owairaka Boys home, and later Kohitere – a boys training centre – that was one of the main subjects of the recent Royal Commission of Inquiry into abuse in state care. The story of Luafutu and the thousands of children who also went through state care has not been told like this. Until now.

A Boy Called Piano is the product of a long-term collaboration between Nina Nawalowalo's theatre company The Conch, Fa’amoana John Luafutu and the Luafutu Aiga. The film blends dramatised sequences and powerful interviews with beautiful aerial and underwater photography – translating Nawalowalo’s celebrated visual storytelling to the screen for the first time. 

This heart-breaking story details Luafutu’s time as a state ward. At its core, it is a story about fathers and sons, intergenerational trauma and redemption. Using his voice for the voiceless, Luafutu and Nawalowalo vitally bring this story to light. A must-watch for all New Zealanders. — Lana Lopesi