Like Whale Rider, which earned an unlikely best actress nomination in 2004, White Lies is based on a story by Maori novelist Witi Ihimaera. In fact, Mexican director Dana Rotberg has said that she moved to New Zealand after seeing Whale Rider. White Lies is set in a 1920s rural New Zealand drenched in racism. Maori singer Whirimako Black, in a strong performance, plays medicine woman Paraiti, who, during a visit to town, is approached by a haughty Maori maid, Maraea, who works for a rich white family. It seems that her mistress, the even haughtier Rebecca, has committed the indiscretion of getting herself pregnant while her husband is away, and she needs to get rid of the baby before her husband returns. The tense emotional relationships that develop amongst these three women are gripping enough, but there are late twists that take the story to a different dimension. For those who have seen White Lies, I’ll just say that the ending would have been more effective if Rebecca had made a different decision at the end.