Oriwa Hakaraia

The inspiration to become a film-maker stems from Oriwa’s upbringing in the small town of Ōtaki just north of Wellington

One of six innovators from the Wellington region interviewed for Diverse Voices: Making Screen Work DifferentOriwa shares her experience of diversity, innovation and sustainability in Wellington’s film industry.

The Wellington UNESCO City of Film project is directed and produced by Pachali Brewster, with help from facilitators and Victoria University of Wellington’s Missy Molloy and Raqi Syed.

Material for the documentary has come from a hui featuring six local storytelling talent, including Oriwa, around the central question "how can we make screen work different".

Not only is Ōtaki Oriwa's home town, it's the birthplace of whakatupuranga rua mano which is the vision for the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori and home to Māoriland Film Festival, the largest Indigenous film festival in the southern hemisphere.

“This has allowed me to be immersed in my culture from a young age, and all of this has inspired me to become a film-maker,” says Oriwa.

Daughter of Māoriland founder Libby Hakaraia, the 18-year-old says her upbringing has led her down the path she’s on.

“Our history has been preserved through our oral tradition, our karakia, it’s within our moteatea (sung poetry), film is a part of that, film can contribute to the revitalisation of our traditions, and our tikanga, and our language as well, which is important to me.”

As Oriwa says, it’s no secret that indigenous voices are vital to ensure the world keeps spinning, the urgency for “new” stories and diverse voices growing every day.

“The west is now slowly realising that the future relies on diversity – people of colour have been telling stories since the dawn of time, it’s how our people survive.

“There are so many lessons to be learnt by listening to diverse voices, this is why we need more of us in the mainstream, it’s about decolonising the screen industry to ensure that our people are seen and our voices are heard as a way of inspiring the following generations, to make sure they are raised in a world that reflects them.”

To get in touch with Oriwa, please email [email protected].