The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) congratulates filmmakers who received awards at the Ngā Aho Whakaari Hui-a-tau on Saturday 16 March.
At the event NZFC CEO, Annabelle Sheehan and Pou Whakahaere, Karen Waaka-Tibble presented the NZFC’s Te Aupounamu Māori Screen Excellence Award and two special acknowledgements to three screen practitioners who have shown a high standard of excellence and shared their experience and skill with the wider Māori screen industry.
The $50,000 Te Aupounamu Māori Screen Excellence Award was awarded to Fred Renata, one of New Zealand’s most distinguished Māori cinematographers. His work has crossed all media from music videos and commercials to television dramas, documentaries and feature films.
Kath Akahuta-Brown received a special acknowledgement and $30,000 for her decades of work as a storyteller, script writer and supporter of the Māori screen industry.
The second special acknowledgement, and $20,000, were awarded to Leo Koziol in recognition of his work as creator and organiser of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival.
The recipients of these awards were selected from the ten Māori screen practitioners nominated by peers. A panel made up of two representatives each from Ngā Aho Whakaari and the NZFC reviewed and assessed the nominations.
Te Aupounamu is the carved figure which sits on the tauihu (prow) of the canoe and represents the figure cutting through waves as a waka travels the ocean. The recipients of these awards represent this spirit in their journeys through the screen industry.
Aso announced at the event were the short films to be supported through NZFC devolved fund, Ngā Aho Shorts, this year. The three projects selected are Pati from director Tajim Mohammed Kapa, Tane Mahuta from director Dave Whitehead and Soul Healing from director Maruia Jensen.
The first Māori Screen Excellence Awards were presented to the wahine Māori directors of Waru at the launch of the NZFC’s Te Rautaki Māori in 2018. Te Aupounamu Māori Screen Excellence Awards will be given annually to recognise members of the Māori screen community who have displayed a high-level contribution or achievement as recognised by peers.