June 07, 2022
Māoriland screen dream rewarded
A co-founder of the Māoriland Film Festival says her tohu is an endorsement of the work Māoriland is doing to put Māori on screens around the world.
Libby Hakaraia was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours List for services to the film and media industries.
She says when Maoriland was set up, she and partner Tainui Stephens realised they would need to build capacity to realise their vision of having Māori own the screen – and it’s now happening, with a crew of 22 full-time workers, half aged under 25.
It also builds on what she saw done by pioneers like the late Don Selwyn, who set out to train Māori for roles behind the camera in film and television.
“I remember sitting with Don out there at He Taonga and I knew what his dream was. We do own, and I mean we collectively, Māori storytellers, indigenous storytellers, we do own the screen. We own the screens at Māoriland and our stuff is being seen around the world and people are now going ‘this is the content we have been waiting for.’ Well, we knew it was there all the time.” Ms Hakaraia says.
The Māoriland Film Festival runs from June 29 until July 3 in Ōtaki.