Māoriland Film Festival celebrates 10 years of indigenous filmmaking

Māoriland Film Festival is celebrating 10 years of growth, connection and indigenous filmmaking in Ōtaki this week.

The seaside town hosts the annual event which draws in visitors from around the country, and world.

"It's so beautiful here, like the culture is awesome, the people are great and seeing all the films is really fun," indigenous filmmaker Iohserì:io Polson told 1News.

This event is now the largest of its kind in the world.

Over 140 films are being screened over five days created by filmmakers from 150 indigenous nations.

"I think indigenous stories have been a part of Earth for many many years.

"A lot of our stories haven't really surfaced because we haven't the materials or the tools to share a lot of our stories on film," Inuit filmmaker Pasha April Partridge said.

Partridge had her film screen at the festival and is also helping teach rangatahi how to make stop motion animations in a workshop.

Partridge has sourced materials from the Ōtaki environment to use in the stop motion project.

"It's nice to see like a little bit of New Zealand in the little collective film that we're making together."

Māoriland holds workshops year-round for young creatives to develop their skills.

The initiative has been life-changing for Tahuaroa Ohia, a rangatahi whose film depicting his journey of living with autism screened at Māoriland this year.

"The animation and the filmmaking side helped me to gain that story and therefore share it to the world, share it to whānau who need help with this stuff," he said.

This year's event is the last to be led by founder Libby Hakaraia, with niece and founding member Madeleine Hakaraia de Young taking over the role as festival director.

Hakaraia de Young has just launched an accessible framework for indigenous filmmakers called Puritia.

The 52 page document has been shaped by learnings from running the festival over the past decade and includes an indigenous intellectual property statement.

Improving the wellbeing of production crew around the world is a priority for the incoming director, with Puritia covering Māoriland's approach to talent development and production when making films.

"If we want to be able to create our own New Zealand stories, our own Māori stories, indigenous stories at the highest levels then we need to have crew and so we have to look after everybody," she said.

Māoriland Film Festival is intrinsically linked to the community in Ōtaki.

The event adds around $400,000 to the local economy, based on 2019 data from Kāpiti Coast District Council.


More Stories