Whale Rider preview is huge hit 
NZ City - 16 May 2003 

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Senior US travel media and tourism industry representatives moved and impressed by Whale Rider

New Zealand movie Whale Rider has proven a huge hit at a key screening in America, according to Tourism Minister Mark Burton.

Mr Burton is in the US promoting New Zealand to the travel and tourism industry.

Niki Caro's film of the Witi Ihimaera story is set in a remote fishing village on the North Island's East Coast, and features movie newcomer Keisha Castle-Hughes as the heir to the leadership of Ngati Kanohi - except that the heir is supposed to be male.

Mark Burton says a special pre-release screening of Whale Rider was held in New York City on Thursday night, before a group of senior travel media and tourism industry representatives.

Mr Burton says the audience was overwhelmingly moved and impressed by the movie.

The movie has already hit the number two spot in Australia on its first weekend after opening, taking $1.27 million, putting it just behind X-Men 2.

Whale Rider opens to the public in the US on June 6 and around the rest of the world between July and September.

2003 NZCity, IRN