||This article may be an autobiography or has been extensively edited by the subject or an institution related to the subject. (August 2014)|
July 22, 1962 |
Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand
|Occupation||Actress, Writer, Director, Producer|
Rena Owen (born July 22, 1962) is a New Zealand actress in theater, television and film. Owen is best known for her leading role as Beth Heke in Lee Tamahori's Once Were Warriors and as Taun We in George Lucas's's Attack of the Clones.
Born in New Zealand, Owen is of Maori, Welsh and European descent. One of nine children, she grew up in Moerewa, raised Catholic in 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. Owen pursued a medical career and trained as a nurse at Auckland Hospital for three and a half years. Once she qualified as an SRN, Owen moved to London, England.
Owen trained at the Actors Institute in London in the mid-1980s and worked extensively in British theatre. Highlights include Voices From Prison for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Co-Existences for the Elephant Theatre and Outside In for Theater New Zealand, which debuted at the Edinburgh Festival. Owen wrote and starred in Te Awa i Tahuti (The River That Ran Away), which had a successful London tour and was later published by NZ Playmarket in 1991.
On her return to New Zealand in 1989, Owen acted in two dramas for Television NZ’s E Tipu E Rea series. A first of its kind, the series was written, acted, directed & produced by Maori, telling Maori stories. She worked extensively in theatre; acting, writing, directing, working as a dramaturge, and was a founding member of Taki Rua Theatre. Owen wrote and starred in Daddy’s Girl, while also playing reoccurring roles in two TV series; Betty’s Bunch & Shark in the Park. Recent theatre credits include starring in the classic NZ plays, Haruru Mai for the NZ International Arts Festival and The Pohutukawa Tree for ATC. In the USA, she has acted in multiple stage readings for Native Voices at the Autry in LA, and a charity stage reading of Vagina Monologues for the City of West Hollywood. She also played the lead in a Hawaiian play called Fine Dancing, adapted and directed Toa Fraser’s play Bare for the Asian American Theatre Company in San Francisco (AATC).
Owen played Taun We in George Lucas’ Star Wars Attack of the Clones, Nee Alavar in Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, and a cameo role in Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Whilst playing a reoccurring role in WB’s Angel, Owen played supporting and cameo roles in multiple international independent films. Highlights include the NZ Canadian co-production, Nemesis Game, Garth Maxwell's When Love Comes, Rolf de Heer's acclaimed Dance Me To My Song, Vincent Ward’s acclaimed Rain of the Children, and US thrillers Alyce Kills & The Well. She played leading roles in the Australian TV drama series, Medivac in 1998, and recently in ABC's, The Straits, a multi-ethnic crime family drama. She also appeared in A&E’s Longmire.
In Once Were Warriors, Owen played the leading role of 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). Recently they completed work on a documentary celebrating the 20 year anniversary of Once Were Warriors, which was voted the number one New Zealand film of all time.
Owen acted as Taun We in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) (in which Morrison played Jango Fett) and acted 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 and an AFI Best Supporting Actress nomination in 1998 for her role in Rolf de Heer’s film, Dance Me to My Song. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the 2012 Aotearoa Film and Television Awards (AFTA) for her role as Hine Ryan in the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. 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.
- Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award 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 
- Australian Film Institute Awards 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- Cover Story
- Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress (1994): 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
|2014||The Dead Lands||Grandmother||Toa Fraser|
|2014||The Well||Claire||Thomas Hammock|
|2011||Exquisite Continent||The Narrator||Stephen Gyllenhaal|
|2011||Witness Insecurity Snitch||Judge Irwin||Heather Hale|
|2011||Alyce Kills||Danielle||Jay Lee|
|2009||Veronika Decides to Die||Nurse Josephine||Emily Young|
|2009||Karma Kula Mystic Warrior||Queen Puta||The Ninjai Gang|
|2008||A Beautiful Life||Sam||Alejandro Chomski|
|2008||Finding Red Cloud||Barfly||Micheal O'Connor|
|2008||Rain of the Children||Puhi Tatu||Vincent Ward|
|2007||Ocean of Pearls||Anna Berisha||Sarab Neelam|
|2006||The Iron Man||Dolores||Alex Nam|
|2005||Mee-Shee: The Water Giant||Crazy Norma||John Anderson|
|2005||Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith||Nee Alavar||George Lucas|
|2005||'The Crow: Wicked Prayer||Mary||Lance Mungia|
|2005||The Horrible Flowers||Linda||Eric Tretbar|
|2004||Pear ta ma 'on maf"||Warrior Woman||Vilsoni Hereniko|
|2003||Nemesis Game||Emily Gray||Jessie Warne|
|2003||Red Zone/Pledge of Allegiance||Maria||Lee Madsen|
|2002||Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones||Taun We||George Lucas|
|2002||A Thousand Guns||The Gypsy|
|2002||Soul Assassin||Karina||Lawrence Malkin|
|2001||A.I. Artificial Intelligence||Ticket Taker||Steven Spielberg|
|2000||All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story||Soona Fualaau||Lloyd Kramer|
|2000||Her Iliad||Lena||Jesse Warn|
|2000||What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?||Beth Heke||Ian Mune|
|1999||I'll Make You Happy||Mickie||Athina Tsoulis|
|1999||9 Across||Tish||Jesse Warn|
|1998||When Love Comes Along||Katie||Garth Maxwell|
|1998||Dance Me to My Song||Rix||Rolf de Heer|
|1995||Savage Play||Takiora||Alan Lindsay|
|1995||The Call Up||Emily Broughton||David Blyth|
|1994||Rapa Nui||Hitirenga||Kevin Reynolds|
|1994||Once Were Warriors||Beth Heke||Lee Tamahori|
|1994||Hinekaro Goes on a Picnic and Blows Up Another Obelisk||Hinekaro||Christine Parker|
- 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)
- All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story TV Movie (1996–1998), Soona Fuallaau
- Angel, Dinza, episode: Ground State (2002), Dinza
- Piece of My Heart (2009), Kat
- 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), Kitty Montebello
- 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.
- Rich, B. Ruby (February 1, 1995). "A Bette Davis from Down Under". Elle Magazine.
- Reed, Nicol (16 November 2003). "Rena Owen: Acting her age". Sunday Star Times.
- Eugene Benson; L.W. Conolly (30 November 2004). Ency Post-Colonial Lit Eng 2v. Routledge. pp. 397, 398. ISBN 978-1-134-46848-5.
- Knight, Kim (30 August 2009). "The way we were". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Harada, Wayne (11 March 2005). "Fijian family's tale told through 'Eyes' of a camera". Honolulu Advertiser.
- Castles, Helen (8 May 2007). "Rena's happy in Hollywood". Northern News. Fairfax New Zealand Limited.
- Gilchrist, Shane (13 September 2008). "Rena Owen returns to rural roots". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Gonzalez, Ed (17 May 2013). "Alyce Kills Film Review by Chuck Bowen". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- Lowe, Justin (15 June 2014). "'The Well': LAFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- Hale, Mike (14 December 2012). "‘The Straits,’ an Australian Series at Hulu.com". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Valerie Alia; Simone Bull (2005). Media and Ethnic Minorities. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 52–56. ISBN 978-0-7486-2069-2.
- "Kiwis pick favourite movie". Stuff. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Jane Sloan (26 March 2007). Reel Women: An International Directory of Contemporary Feature Films about Women. Scarecrow Press. pp. 163–. ISBN 978-1-4616-7082-7.
- "Dance Me To My Song". South Australian Film Corportaion. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- Anstiss, Celeste Gorrell (13 November 2011). "Stars' time to shine at AFTA Awards - NZ Herald News". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- "NZ screen stars and creators celebrate at awards". 3 News. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- "Congrats to Rena Owen!". TVNZ On demand. 16 April 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- "Award Winners and Nominations". Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). Australian Film Institute. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- Wightman, Catriona (20 April 2011). "In Full: Monte Carlo TV Festival fiction nominees". Digital Spy. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- Fleming, Donna (7 December 7, 2011). "Rena Owen follows her heart home". New Zealand Woman's Weekly.
- "Chicago critics stand own ground with film nominations". The Daily Herald. 15 January 1996. p. 36. Retrieved August 8, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.
- "The Pohutukawa Tree". The Big Idea. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Official site
- Rena Owen at the Internet Movie Database
- Rena Owen on Facebook
- ScreenTalk Interview with Rena Owen - December 2008. Requires Flash video software (60.4 MB).
- Rena's NZ On Screen profile