||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2014)|
July 22, 1962 |
Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand
|Occupation||Actress, Writer, Director, Producer|
Rena Owen (born July 22, 1962) is an international award winning actress in Theater, Television & Film. She is also a Published Playwright and a qualified General & Obstetric Nurse (SRN). Owen is best known for her leading role as Beth Heke in Lee Tamahori's Once Were Warriors and is one of only five actors in the world to have worked with both George Lucas (Star Wars Ep. 11 & 111) & Stephen Spielberg (A.I). Owen set up her company, Polywood Productions Inc. in 2002 and has two feature films in development.
Born in New Zealand, Owen is of Maori, Walsh and European descent. One of nine children, she grew up in Moerewa, a small rural town in the North Island's Bay of Islands. She regularly performed in local Maori Culture groups and performed in dramas and musicals while in high school. However, given the arts were not deemed a career, Owen pursued a medical career and trained as a SRN at Auckland Hospital for three and a half years. Once she qualified she moved to London, England.
In Once Were Warriors, Owen played the role of abused Māori housewife Beth Heke alongside Temuera Morrison, who played her husband. Once Were Warriors is predominantly narrated from Beth's perspective, and her performance was praised as "classic". Owen reprised the role in the film's sequel, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? (1999).
Owen acted as Taun We in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) (in which Morrison played Jango Fett) and appeared in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) as Nee Alavar. She also worked with the Star Wars Expanded Universe when she reprised her role as Taun We in the video game Star Wars: Republic Commando and also an uncredited role as Jedi Master Tionne Solusar in the video game Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
Her role in Once Were Warriors earned Owen rave reviews and multiple international awards including Best Actress at the Montreal World Film Festival, Oporto Film Festival, San Diego International Film Festival, and the Cannes Film Festival Spirit Award. In New Zealand, she was awarded the Benny Award for Excellence in Film, and the Toast Master's Communicator of the Year award.
Further acting accolades include a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in the 1997 New Zealand TV Series, "Coverstory". A nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the AFI Awards for her role as Rix in the 1998 film Dance Me to My Song, directed by Rolf de Heer. Her recurring role as Hine Ryan in the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, saw her win the Aotearoa Film and Television Award for "Best Supporting Actress" in 2012. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her recurring role as Mere Hahunga in the award winning Australian TV series, East West 101, at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, and nominated for Best Actress at the Montecarlo International Television Festival.
List of Awards:
AACTA Nomination (2012): Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama- "East West 101"
New Zealand Film and TV Awards Winner (2011): Best Supporting Actress- "Shortland Street"
Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards Nomination (1999): Best Supporting Actress- "Dance Me to My Song"
AFI Nomination (1998): Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role- "Dance Me to My Song"
NZ Film & TV Awards Nomination (1997): Best Supporting Actress- "Coverstory"
Fantasporto International Fantasy Film Festival Winner (1995): Best Actress- "Once Were Warriors"
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Nomination (1994): Best Actress & Most Promising Actress- "Once Were Warriors"
Montreal World Film Festival Winner (1994): Best Actress- "Once Were Warriors"
San Diego International Film Festival (1994): Best Actress- "Once Were Warriors"
New Zealand Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu Literary Award, 1992
- Betty's Bunch (1990), Shirley Gardner
- Shark in the Park (1990–1991), Ngaire
- High Tide (1995), Cara Gibson
- G.P. (1996), Hilary Harper
- Adrenalin Junkies (1996–1998), Macy Fields
- Medivac (1996–1998)
- Mary Kay Letourneau: All American Girl, TV Movie (1996–1998), Soona Fuallaau
- Angel, Dinza, episode: Ground State (2002), Dinza
- Piece of My Heart (2009), Kat
- Fear Clinic (2009), Brett's Mom
- Prison Break, (2009) prison guard, episode: The Final Break, SHU C.O.
- Shortland Street, (2010–2011) Hine Ryan
- East West 101 (2009–2011), Mere Hahunga
- The Straits, (2012), Judge Irwin
- Lead Role: Pohutukawa Tree, Auckland Theatre Company, New Zealand (2009)
- Johnson, Brian D. "Ogopogo gets drawn Down Under", Maclean's, July 31, 2006, vol. 119, issue 29, page 56.
- NZ On Screen biography through Creative Commons
-  Media and ethnic minorities by Valerie Alia and Simone Bull, p. 56. Retrieved 5 November 2009
-  Rolf de Heer at IMDb
- Official site
- ScreenTalk Interview with Rena Owen - December 2008. Requires Flash video software (60.4 MB).
- Rena's NZ On Screen profile
- Rena Owen at the Internet Movie Database