Focus area 2: Māori storytellers

A still from the movie 'Cosuins' where a young person is seen wearing a cloak of honour (Korowai) with their elders standing behind them at a meeting house (Marae).

Our focus

Wellington is home to many talented Māori screen creatives. However, there are many barriers to inclusion in the industry and a sustainable career. Removing those barriers and supporting Māori to advance, produce, and exhibit their films is essential.

The stories, either contemporary, ancient or both, help us connect with, and understand who we are as New Zealanders.

There is a strong history and legacy of Māori films and filmmakers in New Zealand. We have much to learn from revisiting these works. Exploring the stories of how and who brought them to life is essential.

Our plans

  • Increase the understanding and appreciation of what it is to be a Wellingtonian and New Zealander — our history and place in the world.
  • Provide more opportunities and improved access for Wellington’s Māori screen practitioners to share their work and sustain careers at home.
  • Partner with of the Wellington region, and Māori from around Aotearoa who choose to live and create here, through the provision of relevant, useful support.
  • Elevate and make visible Te Reo Māori via inclusion in Wellington UNESCO City of Film content and programmes.

Our actions

Māoriland Film Festival is New Zealand’s premier international indigenous film festival. The cultural and arts event invites audiences to indigenous worlds through screen storytelling.

Normally patronised by worldwide indigenous groups, the pandemic reduced the international audience. Instead, we promoted the festival to Wellingtonians, making it accessible to a local audience. This was in keeping with one of our main priorities of removing barriers to cultural screen activities.

We realised director Libby Hakaraia’s idea of a film festival bus. This provided Wellington residents with a sustainable transport option to Ōtaki and the festival. An urban electric and accessible bus did double duty, promoting the wonderful film ‘Cousins’, and making the journey up the Kāpiti Coast twice a day.

On the inaugural journey, Māoriland’s Pat Hakaraia gave passengers the background of the festival. Pat also undertook various other activities at the Māoriland hub in Ōtaki.

Among the passengers was a group of year 13 media students from St Patrick’s College in Wellington. The students were predominately Māori and Pasifika students. The event allowed the group to see carvers in action and some of the festival’s short films. They also saw a lively pitching session from the Ngā Pakiaka rangatahi filmmaker incubator programme.

Find out more about the Māoriland Film Festival