Lights, Camera, Toronto! Aotearoa’s youngest directors to debut at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

The dream of an international premiere is to be realised for 16 year old filmmakers, Oriwa Hakaraia and Te Mahara Tamehana’s whose professional debut, Bub has been selected for the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival this coming October.

Bub is about a small boy who comes home from kura to discover his Nan – his whole world missing. In her absence, he must be brave and use his wits to find help.

Located in Ōtaki and Kaitaia, Oriwa and Te Mahara met in 2017 through the Māoriland Charitable Trust’s Through Our Lens programme – in which rangatahi from across Aotearoa are selected to travel internationally to deliver filmmaking workshops for their peers in other Indigenous nations. They are now both members of Ngā Pakiaka, the MCT’s youth leadership programme, planning the Māoriland Rangatahi Film Festival and delivering workshops for other young people around Aotearoa. Bub was dreamed up following one of these workshops and planned over Messenger and Google Docs defying the 900 km distance separating the filmmaking duo. Bub was then filmed in January 2019 at the Māoriland Hub on a shoestring budget with a crew blending whānau, rangatahi and professional filmmakers. Director of Photography, Raymond Edwards had recently concluded working on the upcoming TV series of The Deadlands while editor Te Rurehe Paki and sound editor Dick Reade contributed their skills in post.

For Oriwa, Bub is just the beginning of what she hopes to be a life-long career, “My dream is to spend my life making films, whether they’re small scale, or big scale. My goal is to continue working in the industry, and make films that inspire people and tell stories from a Māori point of view, I want to show people that age isn’t and shouldn’t be an obstacle when it comes to making films.”

The next challenge for the pair is to get to imagineNATIVE to present their film. Flights to Toronto are upwards of $2,500 each posing a significant challenge for the young filmmakers. They are currently crowdfunding on with a goal of $6,000 to cover flights and accommodation. Boosted, is operated by the Arts Foundation and is an all or nothing campaign – so every dollar counts!


The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival launched in 2000 and celebrates 20 years this October. The festival was founded to support the diverse, contemporary work of Indigenous directors, producers and screenwriters working in film, video, audio and digital media from around the world. To have Bub screen at the largest annual Indigenous media arts event in the world is a significant achievement for Oriwa and Te Mahara who represent the next generation of Māori filmmakers.

Bub cast and crew - a group of people stand in front of a mural

Oriwa Hakaraia

Oriwa Kurupae Rongo Hakaraia is a 16 year old, year 11 student of Te Kura ā Iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano. She is fluent in te reo Māori and the winner of several national youth short film awards.

\”My dream is to spend my life making films, whether they\’re small scale, or big scale. My goal is to continue working in the industry, and make films that inspire people and tell stories from a Māori point of view.\”


Te Mahara Tamehana

Te Mahara is a 16 year old, year 11 student from Taipa in the far North. After participating in rangatahi filmmaking workshops with the Māoriland Charitable Trust, Te Mahara was selected to travel to Hawai\’i (2017) and Rarotonga (2018) as a rangatahi film leader. He creates online video content for the Moko Foundation and in January 2019 shot his first short film (with budget and crew) alongside Oriwa Hakaraia.

\”imagineNATIVE is an opportunity to be amongst other Indigenous filmmakers and watch films from all around the world. To travel across the world to premiere our film and experience a festival of that level will be an incredible experience and opportunity for my career. I hope that by travelling to imagineNATIVE I will be able to draw more inspiration for my own films and to develop professional contacts. I am particularly interested to attend any pitch, speed dating and industry events.\”