Native American actor welcomed on to Waiwhetū Marae

By Ripeka Timutimu

Waiwhetū Marae has welcomed famous Native American actor, Saginaw Grant in a special ceremony this morning.

The 79-year-old is in New Zealand to attend the Armageddon Expo, and was honoured to have been given the special privilege of meeting with local Māori in Wellington.

In the rain and the bitterly cold winds, the humble marae of Waiwhetū brought two indigenous cultures together.

Grant says, “There's something different about another tribe going to the effort to make you feel a part of the tribe and I will always be part of the tribe.”

There's no doubting that if you've seen movies about the Native Americans, you would have seen the face of Saginaw Grant, a legend in the movie industry of Hollywood.

He says, “Who would have thought that I would ever be an actor?  I never did, never did I when I was growing up.”

Grant says he's very lucky to be able to meet people from all over the world, “So I am able to be invited to places where I endeavour to teach young people to keep our traditions and our way of life, even the Caucasian people.”

For the home people of Waiwhetū his face is a window into the past.  Grant will be attending the Armageddon Expo in Wellington next week.

Saginaw Grant says, “It brings hurt feelings, it’s something that I had to experience but I see no need for it right now, but it will come to me why I did some of the things I did.”