Once Were Warriors star Temuera Morrison fears young men look up to his violent wife-beater character Jake 'The Muss' Heke.
In a moving korero for Women's Refuge NZ's annual appeal, Morrison said the problem of domestic violence in New Zealand is getting worse.
"I do get a sense that from our young men they kind of look up to Jake and glorify him in a way that upsets me," Morrison says in the 2:52 video uploaded to the charity's YouTube channel.
"They don't really see the bigger picture.
"Here we are in 2016, 20 years since Once Were Warriors, but the problem's got worse.
"We speak of whanau, we speak of aroha. We say these words but I think we are just saying the words."
The Lee Tamahori movie was based on the 1990 Alan Duff novel of the same name and tells the story of the Heke family and the problems of violence, poverty and alcoholism that plague their lives.
Morrison, 55, from Rotorua, says in the video that Jake will stay with him for the rest of his life but some of "our people" are stuck in that life.
"We put on our clothes and leathers and put our tattoos on," he said.
"Then when it became time to finish the day's filming we were able to rub all the tattoos off and take the leathers off and put our clothes on and go home to our normal lives.
"A lot of our people, they can't rub their tattoos off and they can't take their leather jackets off.
"That's their life: they're stuck. They're stuck in that movie."
The theme for this year's Women's Refuge appeal aims to highlight the increasing costs of providing services to victims, the charity said.
Polly Gillespie and Pua Magasiva are other New Zealand celebrities that have helped create videos to raise awareness.
"All our clients and Refuges have different needs," charity chief executive Dr Ang Jury said.
"One family might need help with relocating and re-establishing themselves, or we may have a refuge with safe house running at full capacity, which will equate to a high power bill, along with other associated expenses, or even the cost of placing a family in a motel for a few nights until a safe house space becomes available.
"We just simply don’t have spare money to pay for this."