A grassroots comedy about what it takes for a New Zealand born Samoan to transform into a 'real island guy' is for some a nostalgic trip back to the islands, and for others a first time glimpse into true Samoan culture on the big screen.
The self-funded film Three Wise Cousins follows Adam, a 'fia-palagi', who turns to his two cousins in Samoa to teach him the ways of the islands, including how to climb a coconut tree and clear the land with a machete, in the hopes of impressing a girl.
At Auckland's Civic Theatre for the world premiere, the movie began on island time, and for the following 90 minutes, the audience overdosed on island humour.
The producer, writer and director for Three Wise Cousins, Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa, says it's the movie of a thousand and one quotes, with viewers bound to be repeating the memorable lines and jokes in years to come.
He says while the movie was made with the help of friends and family, it is of a quality that can compete with any other feature film.
Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa says he set out to make people laugh, but to also learn more about life in Samoa.
"I think people will definitely leave with a bit more wisdom, I think this film will be quite eye opening for a lot of people. They'll find that amongst the laughter there's just a lot more, I guess perspective. They'll definitely walk away with perspective"
Neil Amituanai, who plays the bumbling New Zealand-born Adam, tries and often fails at everyday Samoan tasks in the movie - like learning how to husk a coconut, sweeping leaves with a salu, preparing an umu and even selling koko at the markets.
He says this was his first time shooting a movie, his first time getting on a plane, and his first time in Samoa, and much of the struggles he portrays in the film, is real.
"In Samoa, like that lifestyle is so different. It was like a huge culture shock, adapting to the weather, just how they cook and how they live, it's a whole lifestyle that you have to learn. Yeah, it wasn't acting, it was my first time there, first time doing everything."
A large chunk of the humour and one-liners comes by way of Fesuiai Viliamu and Vito Vito, who had already found online fame from their stint on Fresh TV's Mr Lavalava series, and who are now known simply as, 'Swak' and 'McDenda.'
They play the "wise cousins" from Samoa, Tavita and Mose. Fesuiai Viliamu jokes that knowing how to climb a coconut tree is key to becoming a 'real island guy', but adds more seriously, "people should watch this movie because we're telling stories about our polynesian communities, so you better watch it, you might relate."
Vito Vito is more succinct, "People should watch it because it's funny," and says the food on set was the best part about making the movie.
Gloria Ofa Blake plays Adam's love interest, Mary, and says she hopes people support the movie to show the Pacific Island community that they have a place in the film industry.
"To come and just see and support and get a inside look into just what the culture is about. I don't think there is anyone who wouldn't appreciate a good laugh, and that's what Pacific people are about. We know how to laugh, we know how to eat, we know how to cook and just have a good time all round."
And in case you're wondering, her idea of a 'real island guy' is, "someone who embraces their culture and integrates that into their everyday life, who is proud, and will represent."
Audience members afterwards raved about how much they loved the film and how funny it was, with a particular moment involving a lavalava one of the the most talked about.
For some, like Keleva Faleatua, there were feelings of nostalgia, "It took me back in the islands, actually. It was amazing just to see all the scenery, especially preparing all the umu. The lifestyle, what we used to do, waking up in the morning, that was fantastic. I was very chuffed to see that."
And for others, like Margaret Malaeoletot, the movie showed her the real Samoa for the first time, "I've never been to the islands, but the movie itself took me on a ride, a cultural ride, just watching it humbled me. It felt like I had been [to Samoa] through Adam."
'Three Wise Cousins' is due for general release towards the end of January.