‘Te Whakairo’ Portrays Wildlife Through an Art Lens

Congratulations to DEGANZ members Vanessa Wells and Emma Smart for their short film making the Wild Earth Oceania Film Festival (WEOFF) selection! Te Whakairo – Ngā Kī o Te Tai Ao (The Carvings Carry the Stories of the World), directed and produced by Vanessa and edited by Emma, follows two skilled carvers from opposite ends of Aotearoa on their journey to and mahi in Antarctica.

James York (Ngāi Tahu, Ngā Puhi) and Poutama Hetaraka (Ngāti Wai, Ngāi Tahu) bring their toi whakairo (carving) to Antarctica as part of Aotearoa’s kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of The Ross Sea, the world’s largest protected marine area. They travelled as part of the mātauranga Māori perspective of the five-year Ross Sea Marine Protected Area monitoring programme and the Community Engagement Programme with Antarctica NZ. For the film, Vanessa accompanied them to Antarctica.

The 14-minute short will screen in the festival’s Wildlife Through an Art Lens programme on 10-11 September in Sydney. WEOFF is Australia’s first film festival to focus purely on wildlife. It aims to create a thriving and sustainable future for wildlife and people in Oceania by showcasing wildlife, Indigenous, environmental, and natural history films.

Te Whakairo – Ngā Kī o Te Tai Ao premiered in 2019 at Show Me Shorts. Since then, it has played at the Polar Film Festival in New York, FIFO in Tahiti, CSFF in China, the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, and the Earth Futures Festival.

Best of luck to Vanessa, Emma, and the team at the festival!

Last updated on 31 August 2023