The Pohutukawa Tree, that blooms each December,
Is looked at affectionately as the "Christmas Tree of the Maori"
It is in this Spirit of the Times, that we wish you, your whanau
And Friends the best for the end of 2015, for Christmas time,
And as we mark the Summer Solstice and Change of Seasons
Here in the Southern Hemisphere.
Blessings to you all!
Meri Kirihimete me ngā mihi o te tau hou ki a koutou katoa!
- the Wairoa Maori Film Festival Team
Leo, Huia, Jordan, Becca, Hiona, Ratu, Ruby & Brad
and our team of Aunties and Uncles supporting us behind the scenes!
End of Year Message from the Festival Director
It has been a year like no other for the Wairoa Māori Film Festival! We hosted our most successful festival in Wairoa ever, with screenings over three days at Kahungunu Marae in Nuhaka, and a sold out Grand Gala at the reopened Gaiety Cinema in Wairoa.
Wairoa District Council kindly partnered with the Wairoa Māori Film Festival to present a truly fantastic event. The Gaiety was a venue par excellence to present the best in cinematic art, with a collection of moving image art works stunning audiences on the night - including Lisa Reihana's "Tai Whetuki" which went on to win an award in Toronto, and will be part of the Venice Biennale in 2017. Big ups to the vision of Mayor Craig Little, we look forward to talking exciting future plans in the new year!
At this year's festival, we presented our first ever feature film "World Premiere" - "Umbrella Man" by Lennie Hill, an independently funded production which screened on Maori Television this month. Lennie also brought two Tahitian film makers with him along to the festival, and he's recently wrapped shooting a Tahitian feature film "Lost Pearl" directed by Temuera Morrison - exciting news!
We also played a clutch of new Maori and Pasifika short films, many of which went on to screen at the NZ International Film Festival, including the "Nga Whanaunga" programme that I curate along with Craig Fasi of Pollywood Film Festival. The shorts then went on to play in film festivals around the world, including Honolulu and Toronto (imagineNATIVE).
It's been a true privilege to travel the world on behalf of the Wairoa Maori Film Festival this year.
I served as a juror at the Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival Southeast Asia pitching competition. I represented the Maori film festival at the Rochefort Pacifique Cinema & Literature festival in France. And I attended the first ever world gathering of indigenous film festival directors at Rama First Nation, Canada, in June, before returning to Canada in October for my annual pilgrimage to imagineNATIVE, stopping over in Denver, Colorado, where I was a guest and speaker at the Indigenous Film Arts Festival, including a symposium on indigenous food.
Whew! What A Year!
To round out 2015, I've started as host on a weekly radio show on Radio Waatea themed on Maori film, theatre and the arts. "Korero Kiriata with Leo Koziol" launched in early November, and seven shows in we've talked with indigenous film and arts folk in Canada, Australia and Hawaii, looked at the growth and revisioning going on in Maori theatre, and connected with our mates Wal Reid and Jarrod Tito at Entertainment Podcast for a weekly roundup of film and music news.
Its an exciting year ahead for Maori arts and Maori film, and "Korero Kiriata" will be a regular fixture in the run-up to our 11th annual Maori Film Festival in June.
There's some "biggie" films coming out: "Mahana" directed by Lee Tamahori comes out in March. Tearepa Kahi also has an adaptation of "Poi E" - a docu-drama focused on the life of Dalvanius Prime. And Taika Waititi's "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" opens at Sundance next month before arriving on NZ screens in the fall.
At present, plans are not completely clear for 2016, but we've booked Kahungunu Marae for a weekend of films and once again are planning a "big night" as the centrepiece, most likely a music night with a strong Maori reggae theme. The "Call for Entries" for the Wairoa Maori Film Festival is now open, and we're getting together a range of sponsors for prizes, particularly in the short film category.
We're excited in particular with the new "Korero Kiriata" show, and hope to make it into a broader platform for news on arts, film and culture as the year progresses. In the coming months, all our archive of interviews will be placed on to a Podcasting platform, and integrated with both our Blog website at MANAWAIROA.COM and our Festival website at KIAORA.TV.
Whew! Exciting stuff! But for now let me sign off and say thank you to everyone who supported the Wairoa Maori Film Festival this year!
Thanks to our event sponsors and hosts this year in Wairoa: Kahungunu Marae, Gaiety Theatre, Te Matarae O Te Wairoa Trust, Wairoa District Council, and our lovely in-kind sponsors including Hakanoa Ginger Beer and Creative Coast, and our industry partners at Tropfest NZ, WIFT NZ and Nga Aho Whakaari. We could not have done it without you!
Out there in our national curation, we thank the NZ International Film Festival for their ongoing partnership with the "Nga Whanaunga Maori Pasifika Shorts" programme, and Pollywood Film Festival in its co-curatorial role. We thank our "Kia Ora Shorts" partners at Corban Estate Arts Centre and Venture Southland and Southland Museum.
Internationally, we want to thank imagineNATIVE for the kind invitation to the NEXTus Summit, and to our partner festivals for inviting us to work with you in re-envisioning the future of indigenous storytelling: Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival in Malaysia, Rochefort Pacifique Cinema & Literature in France, FIFO Tahiti, T-Tahiti, Asinabka Film & Media Arts Festival in Ottawa, Aotearoa Maori Film Festival in Sydney, Aotearoa NZ Film Festival in Honolulu, the Honolulu Museum of Art Doris Duke Theatre, Woven Pacific in Rarotonga and Mika Haka International/Aroha Film Festival in Aotearoa.
Last but certainly not least, thanks to Radio Waatea for believing in the "Korero Kiriata" idea! Keep an eye out for us in the New Year, some exciting new developments on the horizon!
Leo Koziol (Ngati Rakaipaaka, Ngati Kahungunu)
Festival Director, Wairoa Maori Film Festival
WAIROA MAORI FILM FESTIVAL 2016