Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga I New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) is strengthening its commitment to a diverse and inclusive screen sector with the introduction of its He Ara Whakaurunga Kanorau | Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
The Strategy will support existing NZFC programmes and introduce new initiatives to increase understanding of diversity, improve access to systems and create equitable pathways for better representation on screen and behind the camera. Particular attention will be given to meet the needs of underrepresented communities.
“I congratulate Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga | New Zealand Film Commission for launching the He Ara Whakaurunga Kanorau | Diversity and Inclusion Strategy,” Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni said.
“The film industry in Aotearoa New Zealand contributes to a thriving culture and a strong national identity by telling our stories. A diverse and inclusive film industry will reduce barriers and open opportunities to a wide range of voices from across our society. It will ensure the stories we tell and see on our screens reflect who we are, acknowledge and celebrate our differences and represent the many varied perspectives we have on the world”
The Strategy has been developed in partnership with the Aotearoa screen industry and head of the NZFC Staff Diversity and Inclusion Committee Tayla Hancock says this has been a complex process for good reason. “We wanted to ensure time was taken to create a roadmap for change that is based on meaningful consultation, co-design and a commitment to elevating the voices of underrepresented communities.”
“The Strategy recognises that certain communities in the sector have not had the same access to opportunities. Ultimately, we hope the initiatives introduced will challenge the current landscape, ensure equitable access to knowledge, development, and funding, and that this will reflect in the stories we see on screen.”
The Strategy sits alongside the NZFC’s Te Rautaki Māori Strategy and NZFC Pou Whakahaere Te O Kahurangi Waaka says, “The two strategies will work together to elevate our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Both strategies are built on a framework of respecting one's identity without discrimination, with openness and better support to access NZFC funding initiatives that will champion Aotearoa’s story telling success.”
While this Strategy is an important step forward in addressing barriers faced in the screen sector, an all of industry approach is necessary. Change needs to happen with participation and engagement from the sector as a whole and the NZFC looks forward to working alongside the industry in achieving its outcomes.