Riwia Brown

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Riwia Brown
Born New Zealand
Occupation Screenwriter
Relatives Apirana Taylor (brother)
Rangimoana Taylor (brother)

Riwia Brown ONZM (née Taylor) is a New Zealand playwright. She is the award-winning screenwriter of the cult classic movie Once Were Warriors (1994).[1] The Once Were Warriors screenplay, adapted from the book of the same name by Alan Duff, gained Brown the Best Screenplay award at the 1994 New Zealand Film and TV Awards.[2] Brown has written for theatre, television and films.

Early life and family[edit]

Brown is the daughter of Mel Taylor, a dipolmat, and his wife, Reremoana Taylor. She is of Māori descent and affiliates to the Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Taranaki iwi.[3] Brown is from a creative family: her brother Apirana Taylor is a poet, story-teller and musician; and her other siblings Rangimoana Taylor and Hania Stewart are also theatre practitioners.[4]

Brown was educated at St Joseph's Māori Girls' College in Taradale.[3]


Brown has written a number of plays since she began working in theatre during the 1980s. Her first play was Roimata (1988) which debuted in Wellington[5] and later adapted for television and published in He Reo Hou, a collection of Maori plays. Her play Nga Wahine (The Women) (1997) was adapted from the stage to television and featured Nancy Brunning in the lead role. In television, she wrote for the supernatural series Mataku and Taonga:Treasures of Our Past. She was a co-writer of the American film The Legend of Johnny Lingo (2003).

In the 2001 New Year Honours Brown was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to theatre and film.[6]


  1. ^ Maslin, Janet (February 24, 1995). "Once Were Warriors (1994) FILM REVIEW; For a Family, the War at Home". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Playmarket.org Playmarket, New Zealand Playwrights' Agency
  3. ^ a b Taylor, Alister, ed. (2001). New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa 2001. Auckland: Alister Taylor Publishers. ISSN 1172-9813. 
  4. ^ NZine
  5. ^ Google Books Pacific Islands writing: the postcolonial literatures of Aotearoa/NZ and Oceania by Michelle Keown, p.215. Retrieved 9 November 2009
  6. ^ "New Year honours list 2001". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 30 December 2000. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 

External links[edit]