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The key word in Boy is "potential." It's repeatedly spoken aloud by the title character (James Rolleston), an eleven-year-old Maori living in Waihau Bay, New Zealand in 1984. Initially, he has no idea what it means. All the same, he thinks he has plenty of it. From our perspective, his circumstances suggest otherwise; he lives a meager existence on a farm with his grandmother, Nan (Mavis Paenga)