MFF HISTORY

The Māoriland Film Festival (MFF) was launched in 2013, at the ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto, Canada.

The following March, the first Māoriland Film Festival was held in Ōtaki, Aotearoa. That programme featured 48 short films and 10 feature films with kōrero from 2016 New Zealander of the Year, Taika Waititi and a keynote address of the whakapapa of Māori film Māoriland Charitable Trust Chairman, film producer and director Tainui Stephens. (Te Rarawa).

Since this first festival in 2014, the MFF has grown quickly, attracting an audience of 12,500 in 2019. 

The MFF is held annually each March. 

2019

MFF2019 featured a strong lineup of films from Te Moananui a Kiwa (the Pacific), including the southern hemisphere premiere of Vai.

Made by the producers of the critically acclaimed ‘Waru’, ‘Vai’ is a portmanteau feature film directed by eight female Pacific Island filmmakers and filmed in seven Pacific countries: Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kuki Aīrani (Cook Islands), Samoa, Niue and Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Another seven Pacific features and 41 short films from Aotearoa, Hawai’i, Papua New Guinea, Rapanui, Guam, Haida Gwaii, Vanuatu and more are scheduled in the 2019 programme, including the southern hemisphere premieres of Moananuiākea: One Ocean. One Canoe. One People and SGaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife).

The sixth annual Māoriland Film Festival was held from March 20 – 24, 2019. 

MĀORILAND FILM FESTIVAL KEY FACTS & FIGURES:

  • 62 Events held over five days.
  • 21 feature films and 117 short films with filmmakers from 19 countries and 94 Indigenous nations – 138 films in total.
  • 37 New Zealand films
  • 18 New Zealand premieres of international films including 8 Southern Hemisphere premieres.
  • 50% of programmed filmmakers identify as women. 
  • MFF2019 was attended by 12,000 visitors.

The 2019 people’s choice award winners were:

People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary: MERATA: How Mum Decolonised the World (dir. Heperi Mita)

People’s Choice Award for Best Feature Film: Anori (Directed by Pipaluk Jorgensen)

People’s Choice Award for Short Film: Fast Horse (Directed by Alexandra Lazarowich)

People’s Choice Award for NATIVE Slam: Awa (Jason Taylor, Tyson Mowarin, Morningstar Derosier)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Film Awards are an annual celebration of our rangatahi storytellers. 

The 2019 award winners were:

  • Best documentary – Pakipūmeka Mātua
    Wāhine Toa – Qianna Titore 
  • Best Drama – Te Tino Whakaataata
    Bubs – Arita Campbell and Te Waiarangi 
  • Best Edit – Pepa “kotikoti”, kōhatū 
  • Home – Joshua Robinson
  • Best use of Theme – Wai Ora
  • Life of Gi – Sacred Brothers 
  • Best Actor – Te Ahikā
    Te Waiarangi Ratana
  • E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaker of the Year for 2019 – Te Ihorei
    Luka Wolfgram!

2018

The fifth annual Māoriland Film Festival was held from March 21 – 25, 2018. 

MĀORILAND FILM FESTIVAL KEY FACTS & FIGURES:

  • 58 Events to be held over five days.
  • 15 feature films and 86 short films with filmmakers from 11 countries and 65 Indigenous nations – 102 films in total.
  • 40 New Zealand films
  • 10 New Zealand premieres of international films
  • 12,500 visitors
  •  
Manuwhiri at Māoriland Film Festival outside Tainui Marae Otaki

The 2018 people’s choice award winners were:

People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary: Mankiller (dir. Valerie Redhorse-Mohl)

People’s Choice Award for Best Feature Film: Waru (Directed by Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohen, Paula Whetu Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene)

People’s Choice Award for Short Film: Possum (Directed by Dave Whitehead)

People’s Choice Award for NATIVE Slam: Moa Ma Le Pinko (
Courtney Montour, Jesse Littlebird and Amberley Jo Aumua.)

Rawiri Paratene presenting the 2018 Māoriland Film Festival Keynote
Rawiri Paratene presenting the 2018 Māoriland Film Festival Keynote

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Film Awards are an annual celebration of our rangatahi storytellers. 

The 2018 award winners were:

  • Filmmaker of the Year/Te Ihorei: For a young filmmaker who has shown exceptional vision and talent – Te Akauroa Jacobs for ‘Whare Kino’
  • Best Documentary/‘Pakipūmeka Mātua’ – Te Mahara Tamehana for ‘Shadows in Paradise’
  • Best Drama/Te Tino Whakaataata – Ōtaki College for ‘Ranginui and Papatūānuku’
  • Best Editor/Pepa “Kotikoti”, Kōhatū – Neihana Lowe for ‘Tūrangawaewae’
  • Best Use of Theme/Wai Ora: Best film in response to the E Tū Whānau values – Jakita Paranihi and Ari Leason for ‘Moepapa’
  • Best Actor/Te Ahikā – Pare Finlay for her performance in ‘Mahurangi’

2017

The fourth annual Māoriland Film Festival was held from March 15 – 19, 2017 with a programme that took audiences from Aotearoa to the Arctic.

2017 PROGRAMME QUICK FACTS

      • 121 Features, Shorts, Documentaries, Workshops, Kōrero and other special events over five days.
      • 8 New Zealand premieres of multi-award-winning international Indigenous feature films.
      • 100 films from 15 countries and 71 Indigenous nations
      • 35 New Zealand films
      • A majority of film and videos created by Indigenous female directors (60%)
      • 9,500 visitors in attendance
17311238_1369970683023373_1010625982246263452_o

In 2017 the festival awarded its first set of People’s Choice Awards. Audiences were asked to vote for their favourite films using an Emotiki voting system. The 2017 award winners were:

People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary: RISE; Standing Rock (dir. Michelle Latimer, Algonquin)

People’s Choice Award for Best Feature Film: TANNA (cultural dir. Jimmy Joseph Nako (Yakel Tribe), dir. Martin Butler, Bentley Dean)

People’s Choice Award for Short Film: BLACKBIRD (dir. Amie Batalibasi, Solomon Islander)

Michelle Latimer, director of RISE speaking at its sold-out Māoriland screening
Michelle Latimer, director of RISE speaking at its sold-out Māoriland screening

In 2017, we also celebrated the first Māoriland Rangatahi Film Festival (MRFF) which ran over the first three days of the festival. The MRFF was programmed by Ngā Pakiaka, a group of rangatahi filmmakers. Over six months, Ngā Pakiaka reviewed over 80 films to put together a programme of films for their peers.

A highlight of the MRFF was the E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Film Awards. In its fourth year, these awards are a celebration of our budding rangatahi Māori filmmakers.

The 2017 award winners were:

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Filmmaker of the Year – Te Ihorei, sponsored by E Tu Whānau: WARNING (dir. Neihana Lowe)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Best Drama – Te Tino Whakaataata: KAPUMANAWAWHITI (dir. Te Ahitaeawa Hakaraia-Hosking)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Best Documentary – Pakipūmeka Mātua, sponsored by My Food Bag: ŌTAKI’S SUPERHEROES (dir. Jakita Paranihi)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Best Editing – Pepa “Kotikoti,” Kōhatū, sponsored by Park Road Post: WINGS (dir. Jharaiz Kiriona)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Best Use of Theme – Wai Ora, sponsored by What Now: TURNING TABLES (dir. Pare Finlay, Jakita Paranihi, Ari Leason, Jada Murray) and All We Need Is Love (Tihei Rangatahi)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Best Actor – Te Ahikā, sponsored by Annies: Shania Bailey Edmonds in HINE.

The full programme is available to view online.

2017

The fourth annual Māoriland Film Festival was held from March 15 – 19, 2017 with a programme that took audiences from Aotearoa to the Arctic.

2017 PROGRAMME QUICK FACTS

      • 121 Features, Shorts, Documentaries, Workshops, Kōrero and other special events over five days.
      • 8 New Zealand premieres of multi-award-winning international Indigenous feature films.
      • 100 films from 15 countries and 71 Indigenous nations
      • 35 New Zealand films
      • A majority of film and videos created by Indigenous female directors (60%)
      • 9,500 visitors in attendance
17311238_1369970683023373_1010625982246263452_o

In 2017 the festival awarded its first set of People’s Choice Awards. Audiences were asked to vote for their favourite films using an Emotiki voting system. The 2017 award winners were:

People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary: RISE; Standing Rock (dir. Michelle Latimer, Algonquin)

People’s Choice Award for Best Feature Film: TANNA (cultural dir. Jimmy Joseph Nako (Yakel Tribe), dir. Martin Butler, Bentley Dean)

People’s Choice Award for Short Film: BLACKBIRD (dir. Amie Batalibasi, Solomon Islander)

Michelle Latimer, director of RISE speaking at its sold-out Māoriland screening
Michelle Latimer, director of RISE speaking at its sold-out Māoriland screening

In 2017, we also celebrated the first Māoriland Rangatahi Film Festival (MRFF) which ran over the first three days of the festival. The MRFF was programmed by Ngā Pakiaka, a group of rangatahi filmmakers. Over six months, Ngā Pakiaka reviewed over 80 films to put together a programme of films for their peers.

A highlight of the MRFF was the E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Film Awards. In its fourth year, these awards are a celebration of our budding rangatahi Māori filmmakers.

The 2017 award winners were:

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Filmmaker of the Year – Te Ihorei, sponsored by E Tu Whānau: WARNING (dir. Neihana Lowe)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Best Drama – Te Tino Whakaataata: KAPUMANAWAWHITI (dir. Te Ahitaeawa Hakaraia-Hosking)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Best Documentary – Pakipūmeka Mātua, sponsored by My Food Bag: ŌTAKI’S SUPERHEROES (dir. Jakita Paranihi)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Best Editing – Pepa “Kotikoti,” Kōhatū, sponsored by Park Road Post: WINGS (dir. Jharaiz Kiriona)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Best Use of Theme – Wai Ora, sponsored by What Now: TURNING TABLES (dir. Pare Finlay, Jakita Paranihi, Ari Leason, Jada Murray) and All We Need Is Love (Tihei Rangatahi)

The E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Filmmaking Award for Best Actor – Te Ahikā, sponsored by Annies: Shania Bailey Edmonds in HINE.

The full programme is available to view online.

2016

The programme for Māoriland 2016 took an epic journey from the stories of the Sámi in the Arctic, through Europe and the Americas, to films from Australia, and around the Pacific including Aotearoa.

At MFF 2016 audiences were invited to see films that would affect them in all sorts of ways. Stories that might make you laugh or cry, but all of them would introduce you to different worlds: unique yet similar with our own. 

Festival director Libby Hakaraia said the strong lineup would provide unique insights into cultures the world over.

‘We are humbled that so many high calibre international, Pacific and Māori filmmakers are coming to the 3rd Māoriland Film Festival. They bring with them their films from all four points of the world including Burma, Iran, USA, Canada, South and Central America, Scandinavia and Europe.’

Highlights of the 2016 programme included Lee Tamahori’s (Ngāti Porou) MAHANA, free whānau screenings of BORN TO DANCE (dir. Tammy Davis, Ngāti Rangi, Atihaunui a Paparangi)  and THREE WISE COUSINS (dir. Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa, Samoa) and award-winning North American features, LE DEP (dir. Sonia Boileau, Mohawk), MEKKO (dir. Sterlin Harjo, Seminole, Muscogee), CHASING THE LIGHT (dir. Blackhorse Lowe, Navajo) and FIRESONG (dir. Adam Garnet Jones, Cree, Métis)

These films led an action packed 62 events including 18 feature films and 70 short films.

Onyeka Arapai and LIT Crew perform before BORN TO DANCE at MFF16
Onyeka Arapai and LIT Crew perform before BORN TO DANCE at MFF16

Filmmakers Tammy Davis, Mike Jonathan and Will Voight led the judging at the third E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Film Awards.

The recipients of these awards were:

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Drama: HE TAONGA (dir. Oriwa Hakaraia)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Actor: Te Ahitaieawa Hakaraia Hosking (He Taonga)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Innovation: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? (dir. Maizy Kingsford Brown)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Documentary: HARIKOA (dir. Philadelphia Metekingi Kingsford-Brown)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Music:HARIKOA (dir. Philadelphia Metekingi Kingsford-Brown)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Camera: HOME (dir. Neihana Lowe & Sheldon Rua)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Original Music: HOME (dir. Neihana Rowe & Sheldon Rua)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Innovation: THE HEALTHY WRAP (Manaakitanga Studio & Room 7, Avalon Intermediate)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Original Music:THE HEALTHY WRAP (Manaakitanga Studio & Room 7, Avalon Intermediate)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Camera: PEPEHA (dir. Pani Rakuraku)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Documentary:PEPEHA (dir. Pani Rakuraku)

E Tū Whānau Award for Best Actor: Te Akauroa Jacob (Kaitiaki)

Highly Commended: MĀORI SPY MOVIE – Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Manawatu

Highly Commended: ŌTAKI’S TREASURE – Kaea Hakaraia Hosking

The NATIVE Slam I from L to R; Blackhorse Lowe, Sunna Nousuniemi, Mick Finn, Mike Jonathan, Himiona Grace, Sonia Boileau, Echota Killsnight, Sara Margrethe Oskal, Zoe Hopkins, Kath Akuhata Brown, Tainui Stephens, Chelsea Winstanley, Trevor Mack, Pauline Clague and Libby Hakaraia.
The NATIVE Slam I from L to R; Blackhorse Lowe, Sunna Nousuniemi, Mick Finn, Mike Jonathan, Himiona Grace, Sonia Boileau, Echota Killsnight, Sara Margrethe Oskal, Zoe Hopkins, Kath Akuhata Brown, Tainui Stephens, Chelsea Winstanley, Trevor Mack, Pauline Clague and Libby Hakaraia.

In 2016, Māoriland introduced the NATIVE Slam, an international indigenous collaboration challenge for experienced filmmakers. 10 international indigenous filmmakers were invited to Aotearoa in the week before Māoriland, where they were separated into five groups – each one led by a Māori filmmaker host. They then had just 72 hours to produce a short film. Five short films were completed and have gone on to screen around the world. Learn more about the project.

View the programme brochure online

2015

The Māoriland Film Festival Programme in 2015 presented 11 feature films, 12 shorts programmes and 7 documentaries over 6 days in Ōtaki, Aotearoa.

Some 5000 people watched and enjoyed films from around the Indigenous world. These films were curated and presented with much love for the taonga (treasures) that they are.

Highlights of the 2015 programme included Hautoa Ma! The Deadland’s, Sume; Sound of a Revolution and a spotlight on the films of Te Arawa.

2014

Māoriland Film Festival was launched at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto, Canada in October 2013. In the five months that followed, a very small team of volunteers worked tirelessly to produce the first festival in March 2014.

The programme consisted of five days of screenings and workshops, including 54 shorts, 9 feature films and kōrero with award-winning Māori filmmakers Taika Waititi and Dave Whitehead.

Maoriland Film Festival Programme A3.xls

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