Tag Archive for: Maori in film

DEGANZ member Jayde Hudson (Nėe Fairley) (Ngāti Maniapoto) has been selected for the tenth iteration of Script to Screen’s South Shorts Mentorship Programme.

Over the next six months, Jayde and fellow participants will engage in focused script development under the guidance of writer/director Brair Grace-Smith. Through a series of workshops, the writers will take part in read-throughs, group discussions, writing exercises, and sessions with guest filmmakers.

By the end of the initiative, they will have produced a polished short film script and have the tools to take the next steps towards production.

All the best for the programme, Jayde!

DEGANZ member and 2017 Incubator alum Renae Maihi attended the 2024 Berlinale Talents Summit as a selected writer/director.

Each year, the renowned Berlinale Film Festival hosts the talent development programme to foster the growth of the world’s top emerging filmmakers. Participants attend The Summit in Berlin for a week of discipline-specific workshops, talks with acclaimed guests, and project development labs. They also join the Berlinale Global Community, an exclusive group of filmmakers and professionals to find support, inspiration, and potential collaborators.

This year, Renae and 201 other talents were selected from a record 3,832 applications from 131 countries. She attended the highly competitive programme as the sole participant from Aotearoa and the only Indigenous filmmaker in the group.

She shared with DEGANZ about her time at The Summit,

Highlights of my time at Berlinale Talents include listening to Martin Scorsese and Lupita Nyong’o talk for us about their careers, dinner with director Wes Anderson’s Art Department collaborator, the lovely Simon Weisse, as well as a direct invitation from the European branch of the Academy to be a member. I found some future collaborators who were also talents in the program working at the top level in their countries. Definitely an excellent time in Berlin.

The Summit took place from 17-22 February with the theme, Common Toungues: Speaking Out in the Language of Cinema.

It’s great to see Renae being recognised for her mahi on such a large international scale!

Many DEGANZ members’ mahi have been selected to show during the 2024 Māoriland Film Festival!

This year marks the biggest one yet for the festival with 168 films and video works from over 130 Indigenous nations. The festival will take place in Ōtaki on the Kapiti Coast across five days in late March.

Congratulations to the members selected!


Directed by Douglas Brooks

An aspiring ornithologist is forced to process the loss of her grandmother while isolated in the South Island bush as she looks for the thought-to-be-extinct kokako bird.


Directed by Cian Elyse White

In 1923, Te Arawa was the first Māori woman to complete her doctorate at Oxford University in England. 100 years later, her granddaughter honours her by painting a 24ft mural in the heart of Rotorua CBD.

Lea Tupu’anga / Mother Tongue

Directed by Vea Mafile’o

Katherine, a young speech therapist of Tongan and European heritage lies about her Tongan language skills to get a job with an elderly Tongan patient who has lost his ability to speak English. When communication breaks down, Katherine must find a way to communicate with her patient or risk jeopardising his health and her career.

Inky Pinky Ponky

Co-directed by Ramon Te Wake

A young fakaleiti (Tongan trans woman) must navigate her way through the world of rugby players, Island mums, gender fluidity, and teenage micro-aggressions to find happiness in an unexpected place.

What’s the Disabili-Tea: Misty Frequency

Directed by Justin Scott (Board Member)

Co-produced by Robyn Paterson (Board President)

Misty Frequency is a non-binary, takatāpui, pansexual drag performer, fashion designer, and make-up artist living in Tāmaki Makaurau. As they prepare for a performance for Drag Wars, a drag competition with $500 on the line, they also process a new diagnosis for Autism.

Hey Brainy Man

Co-directed by Loren Taylor

Co-produced by Jaimee Poipoi (Incubator 2023)

A group of evolutionary losers give humankind a performance appraisal. They love Homo Sapiens’ achievements but want to make sure we don’t mess the world up too much in the process.

Maunga Cassino

Directed by Paolo Rotondo

A battle-hardened Māori soldier and an Italian deserter both find shelter in an abandoned stable in WWII Italy. Despite the circumstances they meet, the connection between the two is not lost.

Māori Time

Directed by Tim Worrall

While caught in a full-blown, alpha-male, mid-life crisis, Quinn has to confront his fear of death and abandonment when an ancient skull is unearthed by builders on the building site of his new grandiose house.

Daisy Does Lunch

Co-produced by Jaimee Poipoi (Incubator 2023)

An unsuspecting Danni is lured to a seemingly chill lunch with her social hockey teammates, only to find a messy intervention where each guest has their own agenda. Tensions rise, noses break, and friendships are tested when Danni has to ask herself if she’s really okay.


Check out the festival’s full schedule or watch the trailer for a sneak peek!

DEGANZ member Shane Rangi (Ngāti Porou) is set to have his directorial debut with his semi-autobiographical feature film, Taonga. Long-time collaborator and Oscar-winning filmmaker, James Cameron, is one of the production’s executive producers.

While this is Shane’s first excursion into directing, he is one of Aotearoa’s leading motion capture and stunt performers. He is best known for his work on a plethora of blockbuster films including Thor: Ragnarok, The Wolverine, the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, and Narnia franchises, and both Avatar films. He met Cameron through his work on Avatar, and the two continued working together through the development of Taonga.

The film is inspired by Shane’s life. It follows an indigenous Polynesian rugby star who becomes homeless and barely survives a violent encounter with law enforcement. While writing the script, Shane aimed to tackle the realities of homelessness and modern-day policing.

Fandomodo Films, a boutique film and television development, production, and financing company, is independently funding the film. The company aims to raise underrepresented voices, telling stories that accurately reflect our society with all the horror, pain, and love that exists in every human being.

The hope is for filming to begin in Aotearoa in 2024 but will depend on the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Read more.

The new action-adventure drama KA WHAWHAI TONU has hit the worldwide market at Cannes. It is written by DEGANZ member Tim Worrall and edited by DEGANZ Board Member Te Rurehe Paki.

Set in Aotearoa in 1864, the film reveals the story of a crucial battle in the land wars between Māori and Colonial forces. With impossible odds between the armies, it shows courage and heroism from the Indigenous people. The historical drama, filmed in Te Reo Māori, follows two teenagers forced to make adult decisions and take hold of their destinies.

The film introduces young actors Paku Fernandez and Hinerangi Harawira-Nicholas in the lead roles. It also stars Temuera Morrison (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngati Maniapoto), Cliff Curtis (Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Pikiao), and Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First Class).

NZFC’s He Pounamu Te Reo Māori Feature Fund Initiative, New Zealand on Air, and Te Māngai Pāho provided funding for the feature. Tim also received assistance from the Sundance Native Lab.

KA WHAWHAI TONU is set to release on Matariki Weekend in 2024. This release corresponds with the 160th anniversary since Chief Rewi Maniapoto refused to surrender and proclaimed, 

E hoa, ka whawhai tonu mātou, Āke! Āke! Āke! (Friend, we will fight on forever, forever and forever!).

This famous phrase still leads to calls for sovereignty today. 

As Tim said to The Hollywood Reporter

It has been a great privilege to be part of telling this story to honour our courageous ancestors who fought and died to ensure that we survived.