Māori Storytellers

Supporting and promoting Māori filmmakers through the Wellington UNESCO City of Film will illuminate and celebrate our identity and culture

shot from cousins film

Our focus

There are many talented Māori screen creatives active in Wellington, but barriers to inclusion and a sustainable career still exist. Removing those barriers and supporting Māori to advance, produce and exhibit their films is essential.

The stories, either contemporary, ancient or both, brought to us via film or other screen technologies help us to 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 and exploring the stories of who and how they were brought to light.

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 Iwi 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, a cultural and arts event that invites New Zealanders to the indigenous worlds through screen storytelling.

Normally patronised by indigenous people from around the world, Covid put paid to an international audience. Instead, we wanted to promote the festival and make it accessible to Wellington citizens, which is in keeping with one of our main priorities of removing barriers to cultural screen activities.

We took up director Libby Hakaraia’s idea of a film festival bus to provide a sustainable transport option for Wellington city citizens to Ōtaki and the festival. An urban electric and accessible bus that did double duty promoting the wonderful film Cousins made the trek up the coast twice a day. 

On the inaugural journey Māoriland’s Pat Hakaraia gave passengers a background on the festival and various other activities at the Māoriland hub in Ōtaki.  

Among the passengers were a bus load of year 13 media students from St Patrick's College in Wellington, mostly Māori and Pacifika students. The students got to see carvers in action, some of the short films and a lively pitching session from the Ngā Pakiaka rangatahi filmmaker incubator programme introducing their films to industry leaders.

Maoriland bus