Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission , launched today the organisation’s Te Rautaki Māori, and announced new funding initiatives to support the strategy.
NZFC Board Chair, Kerry Prendergast, hosted guests at the National Library of New Zealand where Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage launched the strategy.
“The NZFC’s Te Rautaki Māori is the result of a series of hui with Māori filmmakers, story tellers and other industry and community representatives around the country, held over the last 12 months,” says Prendergast. “The outcome is a strategy based on developing an ongoing partnership between the Māori screen industry and Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga.”
“I am pleased to be here tonight, launching Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga’s Te Rautaki Māori. Supporting Māori filmmakers to continue telling their distinctive stories in their own unique voices is critical to building and maintaining the cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the sustainability of the wider screen sector,” says Minister Sepuloni.
As well as the Minister launching the strategy, NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan announced Te Rautaki Māori Feature Film Initiative, a one-off $2 million investment for dramatic features in any genre where the director and at least one other key creative is Māori; and He Pounamu, an ongoing fund of up to $2.5 million investment for dramatic feature films made in Te Reo Māori, by Māori filmmakers. Other initiatives introduced specifically for Māori include a Te Reo development fund which will adopt bespoke support for the development of Te Reo projects; devolved funding supporting internships, mentoring and professional placements for Māori filmmakers, and rangatahi (youth) development in the form of wānanga, workshops and programmes for young Māori creatives.
“Māori voices are integral to the strength of the film industry of Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Sheehan. “There has already been significant success for Maori screen stories and filmmakers which confirm the desire for a rich screen culture in this country and globally. These initiatives will support the next wave of extraordinary Maori filmmakers.”
To assist in implementing the strategy, a new role, Pou Whakahaere, has been established. This role will provide strategic and cultural advice to the Board, management and staff of Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga, and lead the development of meaningful partnerships between the NZFC and Māori film industry.
The nine wahine Māori writers and directors of Waru became the inaugural recipients of Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga Māori Screen Excellence Awards, an award offered to Māori filmmakers whose work makes an impact locally and/or internationally. At the event, Briar Grace-Smith, Awanui Simich-Pene, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Winstanley, Paula Jones and Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu were each presented with a grant of $50,000 to assist with progressing their filmmaking careers.