Maori actor Toa Waaka played the Native American medicine man in Good for Nothing and also upheld the role as cultural and spiritual kaitiaki (guardian) for the production. Under his guidance and authority Tikanga Maori (Maori protocol) was followed and included a ceremonial blessing for the shoot and the sourcing of a mauri stone, a sacred element from Arizona which has followed the journey of the filmmaking process and created a shared connection between the two lands.
Toa has a background in television and theatre (including Shortland St, Small Town Blues and Young Hercules) after completing a BA in Maori Performing Arts through Te Wananga o Aotearoa. His film credits include Crooked Earth, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, and King Kong.
Toa carried out extensive research for the back story of the character he was to portray – respectfully interpreting the Native American people and ensuring there was a connection and appropriate protocols in place.
The locality of the film is set where various first nation tribes lived. For his character he chose Tsitsistas (Cheyenne) descent with Crow influence.
His nephew is played by up and coming 21-year old actor Pana Hema-Taylor. Mike spotted Pana in a Sunday news item about his love of acting.