Kiwi Buddha

Kiwi Buddha is the story of seven year old Rinpoche, a New Zealand born Buddhist High Lama.

From building sandcastles on a North Shore beach to sitting on a throne at the foothills of the Himalayas, Kiwi Buddha is an incredible story about an amazing Kiwi kid.

Director: Peta Carey
Producer: Leanne Pooley
Camera: Swami Hansa
Editors: Ken Sparks, Roger Burn

Watch a video excerpt from Kiwi Buddha Television, 2000 (Documentary) NZ Onscreen if video embedded below isn’t viewable on your browser or device. (2 clips available from NZOnscreen.)

Background: “Rinpoche was brought up by Tibetan-born parents just north of Auckland. After his sixth birthday he was officially recognised as a reincarnation of a High Tibetan Lama. This recognition was confirmed by the present (14th), Dalai Lama. In 1999 venerable Pong Re Sung Rap Tulku Rinpoche, or Rinpoche for short, leaves behind his school friends, and Pokemon, to take up religious training in the foothills of the Himalayas.

When asked at the end of the documentary what he will do at the monastery, Rinpoche answers, “I’m going to study here, then I’m going to meditate here, then I’m going to do some puja [spiritual practice], then I can play some Game Boy.”

“Kiwi Buddha follows the journey of seven-year-old Rinpoche as he becomes the first Buddhist High Lama incarnated in the Southern Hemisphere. ‘Venerable Pong Re Sung Rap Tulku Rinpoche’, is a schoolboy from Kaukapakapa, north of Auckland. The film documents Rinpoche’s journey as he leaves small town New Zealand behind (along with McDonalds and Pokemon) to travel to a monastery in the Himalayas where he will spend his next 20 years studying Buddhism. Kiwi Buddha sold to the National Geographic channel and to 60 territories.”


Kiwi Buddha at Sound & Vision

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