The Māoriland Keynote address is a personal and historical perspective given by a prominent Māori filmmaker. It is presented at Rangiātea Church. Past keynote speakers were Tainui Stephens, Lawrence Makoare, Larry Parr, Julian and Mabelle Dennison, Rawiri Paratene, Heperi and Awatea Mita and Temuera Morrison.
Multi-award-winning actor Rena Owen will deliver the 2021 address.
Rena (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) has been a prominent figure in the Aotearoa film industry for the past few decades, and has had many industry successes abroad. Best known for her role as Beth Heke in Once Were Warriors, she has also earned accolades for her work since then; including nominations and wins for her roles in Dance Me to My Song, Shortland Street, and East West 101. Owen is one of only a handful of actors to have worked with both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence, respectively. She also had a role in the 2014 film The Dead Lands.
More recently, Rena featured in KaYaMenTa, an Indigenous documentary by Jules Koostachin that centres around the discussion of menopause through the lens of five Indigenous women. We will be screening KaYaMenTa at the Māoriland Film Festival as part of our He Tū Wahine programme on Thursday 25th March.
Her latest acting ventures also include playing revered Māori and woman’s rights activist Dame Whina Cooper, in the upcoming feature film Whina.