3 Aug 2011

Kaitaia gala for Billy T James movie

6:46 am on 3 August 2011

Kaitaia people will be among the first in the country to see a long-awaited film about the much-loved comedian Billy T James, with a movie about his life chosen to open the town's new cinema.

The town's Te Ahu Trust and Cathay Cinema have secured the rights to screen Billy T - Te Movie at a gala opening on 16 August - one day after the film has its premiere in Hamilton and two days before it screens elsewhere in New Zealand.

A member of the Te Ahu Trust, Monty Knight, says the screening of the movie, directed by Ian Mune, is shaping up as the social event of the year in Kaitaia.

He says while it is not a black tie event, he hopes people will dress up, though not in Billy T's trademark garb of gumboots and black singlet.

Billy T James was born William James Te Wehi Taitoko in 1949 and went to school in Whangarei, where he is fondly remembered.

He died in 1991 when his health failed after a heart transplant.