Hip-Hop culture is immensely global, and a new documentary that highlights the first-ever Hip-Hop label in New Zealand will make its U.S. debut online next week.
Dawn Raid is the remarkable story of the duo of Andy Murnane and Tanielu Leaosavai’i aka Brotha D, who were students at the Manukau Polytechnic school who started out selling t-shirts together in the streets of South Auckland in addition to running a Hip-Hop night at a local bar. From that origin point, they built the Dawn Raid Entertainment record label, the name coming from the police raids conducted by New Zealand’s government in the 1970s & 1980s that zeroed in on Pacific Islanders who were overstayers, deporting them soon after. (Not a surprise given some other foul decisions by the government.)The film chronicles the rise of the label, which would become home to many Hip-Hop and R&an stars from New Zealand and elsewhere in the Pacific Islands, until its demise through liquidation in 1997 and the aftermath.
The film, which also features extensive interviews from notable artists like Adeaze, Savage in the Hip-Hop & R&B scenes in New Zealand and the United States (including appearances by the Wu-Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg), offers true insight into the relationship between Brotha D & Andy Murnane and how things came to pass with Dawn Raid and its impact on the culture. The movie also touches on the breakdown of the relationship between the two amid financial turmoil and issues between them and some of their artists.
Dawn Raid is directed by the Samoan-born director Oscar Knightley, and is executive produced by Fraser Brown along with Leela Menon and Matthew Metcalfe. The film will be available for audiences to view digitally on demand in the United States on January 11 on Apple TV+ and other platforms via the film’s website.
Watch the trailer below.