Tag Archive for: Maori in film

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.

As part of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival, DEGNZ Incubator alumna Hiona Henare spoke with Tia Taurere-Clearsky (DEGNZ) about her work as a prized Māori film editor, camera operator and international field journalist.

Now living in the Coast Salish Territory in British Columbia, Canada, Tia spoke about the lack of Indigenous editors in the film industry, both male and female, and how she is involved in two programmes as a mentor to hopefully change this by encouraging up and coming Indigenous editors.

Even though she is far away from home, Tia shared how thankful she is to live in a community filled with Indigenous people and how beneficial it is for both herself and her children, that even though being away from Aotearoa can be lonely, being a part of an Indigenous community makes it easier.

Watch the kōrero here:




This past Queen’s Birthday weekend saw the annual Wairoa Māori Film Festival take place, a festival that celebrates Māori cinema, with multiple films by DEGNZ members showcased.

Chantelle Burgoyne with Ocean and Jaimee Poipoi with Guess You were a part of the Mana Wahine Shorts programme.

Karma by Sam Li and Flip by DEGNZ Incubator alumna Jessica Grace Smith screened as part of the festival’s Midnight Madness programme. Flip was edited by Guild member Alex Boyd.

Meanwhile, Hannah Marshall’s Frankie Jean & The Morning Star, edited by Luke Haigh, played in the Aotearoa Shorts programme.

Matariki on the Move

Keep an eye out for Cian Elyse White’s Daddy’s Girl (Kōtiro), edited by Annie Collins, which will screen in local Auckland cinemas as part of the festival’s Matariki on the Move programme (June 24 – July 6). It will play alongside other short and feature-length films, including Merata Mita’s Mauri.

Kia Ora Shorts

Wairoa Māori Film Festival has also curated a list of the best Māori short films in their Kia Ora Shorts programme, screening in Auckland on July 8 – 9. Ngariki Ngatae’s Te Wao Nui, edited by Tia Taurere-Clearsky (DEGNZ), will feature alongside Frankie Jean & The Morning Star and Daddy’s Girl (Kotiro).

If you’re in Tāmaki Makaurau, check out the full programmes and where to watch them here.

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro nōnā te ngahere, 
ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga nōnā te ao.

‘The forest belongs to the bird who feasts on the miro berry, 
the world belongs to the bird who feasts on education’.


Our kaupapa is to inspire rangatahi to look beyond the glamour of filmmaking to the hidden engine room that controls the story and magic of a film – Editorial.

If you’d like to know more, come along to a workshop where you can find out what’s involved, hear from and talk with Māori who have made a career in film editing. Have a go with a scene from an award winning Māori drama on the latest editing software and find out just how much influence and responsibility an editor has on a film.

Tikanga Māori will be in place, some tutors are te reo speakers, and te reo is welcomed in the workshop but not required.

Ngā Kaiwhakahaere: Hineani Melbourne (NAW) & Tui Ruwhiu (DEGNZ)

Ngā Kaiako:

TE RUREHE PAKI (Editor Merata: how Mum Decolonised the Screen, Vapnierka, Making Good Men, The Gravediggers of Kapu)

ANNIE COLLINS (Editor Coming Home in the Dark, premiere Sundance 2021)

Support Tutors: Lea McLean & Onehou Strickland

Workshop Details

When: Saturday 29 May 2021, 9:30am – 4:30pm with capacity for a chat, or a little extra time for finishing a task until 5:30pm if required.

Where: South Seas Film School Campus – Yoobee Colleges, Unit 6/75 Ellice Road, Wairau Valley, Auckland 0629
If you need help with transport to the North Shore, please let us know when you register.

For Ages: 17 – 30 years old

Price: Free of charge. Includes lunch & refreshments.


Registration Form

Registrations Close: Monday 24 May, 4PM

Spaces limited to 14. We will email you to confirm your place.


This workshop is instigated and run by Ngā Aho Whakaari (Maori in Screen) and the Directors & Editors Guild of New Zealand (Ngā Kaiwherawhera Kiriata)


Supported by the
New Zealand Film Commission