July 22, 1962 |
Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand
|Occupation||Actress, Writer, Director, Producer|
Rena Owen (born July 22, 1962) is a New Zealand film, theatre and television actress. She is also a published Playwright and a Qualified General & Obstetric Nurse. She is of Maori, and European descent. Owen is best known for her leading role as Beth Heke in Lee Tamahori's cult 1994 film Once Were Warriors. The role 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 her contribution to the industry, and the Toast Master's Communicator of the year award. She earned 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 Aoteora 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 & Television Arts and at the Montecarlo International Television Festival.
In Once Were Warriors, Owen played the role of abused Māori housewife Beth Heke alongside Temuera Morrison who played the role of her husband. In the cast were other prominent Maori actors including Hollywood star Cliff Curtis and veteran stage and screen actor George Henare. The movie broke box office records in New Zealand and even surpassed Jane Campion's film The Piano. Once Were Warriors is predominantly narrated from Beth's perspective. Owen reprised the role in the film's sequel, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? (1999).
Owen shows love fighting back rage and then shame and despair tearing away at love. Her performance is classic.
New York Magazine, 24 April 1995.
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
Owen is originally from Moerewa, a little town in the North Island's Bay of Islands. She comes from a family of nine children. Her father was Māori, her mother Pākēha. While at high school she participated in kapa haka groups and starred in school musicals. Owen trained as a nurse, and spent four years nursing before moving to England.
- Medivac (1996–1998)
- Angel, (2002) Dinza, episode: Ground State
- Piece of My Heart Kat
- Prison Break, (2009) prison guard, episode: The Final Break
- Shortland Street, (2010–2011) Hine Ryan
- The Straits, (2012)
- Lead Role: Pohutukawa Tree, Auckland Theatre Company, NZ (2009)
-  Once Bitten: An Unofficial Guide to the World of Angel by Nikki Stafford, p.249. Retrieved 5 November 2009
-  Rolf de Heer at IMDb
- 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
- 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