Wairoa Maori Film Awards 2018

Te Rerenga Kotuku opened the night’s celebration!

Te Rerenga Kotuku opened the night’s celebration!

Wairoa Maori Film Awards 2018

Wednesday, 6 June 2018, 11:12 am
Press Release: Wairoa Maori Film Festival

Wairoa Maori Film Awards 2018


The Wairoa Maori Film Festival (WMFF) took place at Kahungunu Marae, Nuhaka, and the Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa, this Queen's Birthday weekend.

Special guest speaker was Larry Parr, Kaihautu CEO of Te Mangai Paho. Performances were be Matatini-finalists Te Rerenga Kotuku, BlakBoi from Australia and NRG Rising.

The night began with Te Rerenga Kotuku kapa haka, followed by the world premiere of "Waiora" a new music video by Toni Huata.

Then the awards commenced.

Two new juries were formed in 2018, the Moana Jury to review Pasifika short films and the Whenua Jury to review Maori short films.

The Moana jurors were: Craig Fasi, Ngaire Fuata, Stella Muller and Misa Tupou (Hawaii).

The Whenua jurors were: Aroha Awarau, Michael Bennett, Anahera Higgins and Jani Wilson.

The Moana Awards were presented to:
MOANA BEST MALE ACTOR: Isaac Ligsay - Ka Piko (young man )
MOANA BEST FEMALE ACTOR PRIZE: Ruita Purea - A Boy from Rarotonga (as the grandmother) 
MOANA BEST FILM : My Friend Michael Jones, Directors Samson Rambo & Ian Leaupepe

Samson Rambo and "Michael Jones" lead Villa Junior Lemanu were present to accept the Moana Best Film Prize. Isaac Ligsay sent a video message from Hawaii.

The Whenua Awards were presented to:
WHENUA BEST MALE ACTOR PRIZE : Eds Eramiha, - Meke (Sonny, the boxer)
WHENUA BEST FILM : Puoro - Komako Silver

Tim Worrall, the director of "Meke," was present to accept the award on behalf of Eds Eramiha.

Lani-Rain Felton, the director of "Mouse" was present to accept the award on behalf of Miriama McDowell.

Three premiere prizes were present to women of renown in the NZ film industry.

A new award was established, the Whakapapa Film Festival of Italy Prize. This new prize includes return airfare from NZ to Italy, accommodation and food for the period 1 to 8 July in Irsina - a medieval hilltop town in Southern Italy, and the opportunity to participate and network at this new film festival. Irsina and Matera are European Capital of Culture in 2019.

The inaugural Whakapapa Film Festival of Italy Prize was presented to Renae Maihi.

The award was presented to Renae Maihi by Mayor Meng Foon of Gisborne.

Since completing a Bachelor of Performing Arts degree at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Renae Maihi has become an acclaimed director and writer of theatre, starting with Ngā Manurere, starring Keisha Castle-Hughes. The NZ Herald called it the "surprise jewel" of 2009. Maihi went on to co-write short film Redemption, which was invited to the Berlin and Sundance film festivals, then directed her debut short Butterfly. The 2017 NZ International Film Festival features two of her films: the New York-shot short Mannahatta, and collaborative feature Waru, where she was part of a team of eight female directors. (NZ On Screen)

The second annual Pacific Islanders in Film & Television (PIFT) Mana Pasifika Award was presented to Sima Urale.

The award was presented by Whetu Fala.

Sima Urale, Samoa’s first female filmmaker, has brought touching stories of Pacific peoples to the screen, often from an NZ outsider’s point of view. Urale credits her film success to determination and dealing with social issues close to her heart. Her lauded shorts (O Tamaiti, Still Life) were followed by her 2008 feature debut Apron Strings. Urale has also spent time as head tutor at Wellington's NZ Film and Television School. (NZ On Screen)

The seventh annual Women in Film & Television (WIFT) Mana Wahine Award was presented to Ainsley Gardiner.

The award was presented by Erina Tamepo and Christina Asher of Nga Aho Whakaari, preceded by guest speaker Larry Parr who mentored Ainsley when she commenced her career in the 1990s and 2000s.

Ainsley Gardiner has produced shorts, feature films and television shows. In 2004 she established Whenua Films with actor Cliff Curtis, to promote indigenous story-telling on screen. After working on two award-winning shorts with Taika Waititi, she co-produced his first two features, Eagle vs Shark and breakout hit Boy. Gardiner has also worked as a producer on variety show Happy Hour and new 2018 feature The Breaker Upperers. (NZ On Screen)

On June 4, it was announced that Larry Parr and Ainsley Gardiner were recipients of Queen's honours, Ainsley received MNZM and Larry received ONZM.

The three final awards of the night:

- Te Wairoa Award for Contribution to Media
- WMFF International Indigenous Award
- Mana Wairoa Grand Prize for Advancement of Indigenous Rights

The Te Wairoa Award was presented to former Wairoa College music teacher Mary Stubbings. Mary had supported dozens of young students at Wairoa College over the years in their musical aspirations. Her students competed in X Factor, NZ Idol, Smokefree Pasifika Beats and Smoke Free Rock Quest. A group of former students, lead by Kingi Gilbert, sang a "Wairoa All Stars" medley to honour their former teacher.

The Te Wairoa Award was presented by Mayor Craig Little of Wairoa.

Students who supported Mary Stubbings in receipt of her leadership award.

Students who supported Mary Stubbings in receipt of her leadership award.

The Wairoa Maori Film Festival International Indigenous Award was presented to Assinajaq for "Three Thousand".

The award was presented to Assinajaq by Sir Bob Harvey, one of the founding patrons of the Wairoa Maori Film Festival.

Asinnajaq, also known as Isabella Rose Weetaluktuk, is a visual artist, filmmaker and writer based in Montreal. Asinnajaq's practice is grounded in research and collaboration, which includes working with other artists, friends and family. In 2016 she worked with the National Film Board of Canada's archive to source historical and contemporary Inuit films and colonial representations of Inuit in film. The footage she pulled is included in her short film "Three Thousand." The film was nominated for Best Short Documentary at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, and screened at the Berlinale Film Festival.

The Mana Wairoa Grand Prize for Advancement of Indigenous Rights was presented to WARU. The producers of WARU are Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton. The director/writers of WARU are Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Chelsea Cohen, Renae Maihi, Paula Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene (director only), and Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu (writer only).

The Mana Wairoa Grand Prize was presented by Wairoa Deputy Mayor Denise Eaglesome Karekare. She was assisted by students for Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Maungarongo in Wairoa.

The evening ended with a preview of He Wiki Kiriata Maori - Maori Film Week, a new event the organisers of WMFF will be presented in Auckland in early July. The theme of Maori Film Week will be Maori Futurism, with a Maori Comic Con event planned to occur at Ellen Melville Hall and screenings at the Academy Cinema. A programme of Maori shorts for Matariki will also be launched on NZ On Screen. The Whakapapa Film Festival of Italy will also be taking place in Europe during Maori Film Week, adding a unique international flavour to this new event that aims to uplift the profile of Maori cinema and film makers.

Also closing the evening was a mass choir of the audience singing Tutira Mai Nga Iwi. The choir was lead by Toni Huata, who explained how her Great Uncle Rev. Wi Huata was inspired to write the song following journeys to Wairoa that go past Lake Tutira. The recording of the mass choir will be included in the Great Wairoa Video Boil Up of Tutira Mai Nga Iwi, that will premiere at Maori Film Week in July.

The next Wairoa Maori Film Festival will take place at Kahungunu Marae, Nuhaka, and the Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa, from May 31 to June 3 2019. The theme in 2019 will be "Maori Myths and Legends."

Authorised by Te Roopu Whakaata Maori I Te Wairoa - Wairoa Maori Film Festival Society Inc.