Māoriland Pitch – 2021 Winners

From 20 pitch submissions, seven projects were selected to receive funding for further development at the 2021 Māoriland Pitch

The Māoriland Pitch is an opportunity for Māori filmmakers to turn their brilliant idea into production-ready projects.

The pitches were judged by a panel which included Karen Te O Kahurangi Waaka Tibble, the Pou Whakahaere from Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission, Māori Television commissioner Lanita Ririnui, Māoriland Productions producer Tainui Stephens and Māoriland Productions Rangatahi Development producer Matilda Poasa.

The four recipients of the Māoriland Pitch Awards will each receive a cash grant of $2,500 to bring their pitched films to life. 

Due to the calibre of the pitches this year, Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission committed an additional $5,000 worth of grants. 

Aspiring writer, director and actor Erroll Anderson is developing a short film with the mentorship of Briar Grace-Smith, co-director of Cousins and writer and director of 2017’s Waru

Erroll pitched a short film story following Lollie, a young girl on a journey to recover her little brother’s cell phone, and is currently in developing the script ahead of pre-production. 

The second recipient is Isaac Te Reina who won Creative New Zealand’s 2018 Ngā Manu Pīrere award recognising emerging Māori artists. 

Isaac has written the first draft of a romantic thriller film Taonga, which he is developing to be his first feature film with the intention to partner with a creative producer and get the script to an award winning level.

Ngamako Rota is developing a film inspired by the history of the Waikato region with a specific focus on the land war famously known as Rangiriri, with a story told through the eyes of an innocent child. 

The project is in pre-production with the script being written, and Ngamako is being supported by 2020 E Tū Whānau graduates Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne and Te Awarangi Puna. 

Developing a film about identity loss, Wesley Taplin is passionate about telling the stories of Aotearoa’s history that haven’t been told previously. 

Focusing on how Māori students were beaten at school for speaking Te Reo, Wesley’s project is in pre-production and he is currently finalising the script. 

Furthermore, two aspiring rangatahi filmmakers have won development prizes through the Ngā Pakiaka Incubator Programme to further flesh out their own film pitches and help prepare them for pre-production. 

Te Hira Horua is a young and creative storyteller, striving to incorporate meaning and emotion in everything he creates.

He is currently working on a short film following the journey of a single mother raising her son on her own while traversing the challenging but beautiful terrain of their maunga. 

The second rangatahi recipient is Kararaina Keeti Ngatai-Melbourne who grew up surrounded by the stories of her tipuna, kuia and koroua, inspiring her own enthusiasm for storytelling. 

Her project focuses on the story of a young Māori girl fighting to hold on to her culture during the 1970’s. 

Finally, Turanga Mahutonga is a recent M.A.T.C.H graduate and the recipient of the 2021 M.A.T.C.H  award of $2,500. This will go towards helping his/her project of four animated musical shorts to help rangatahi engage with and learn Te Reo Māori. 

The full list of winners is: 

Māoriland Pitch Award Recipients ($2,500 cash) 

  • Erroll Anderson – Solid
  • Isaac Te Reina – Taonga
  • Ngamako Rota – Rangiriri – A Tale of Triumph
  • Wesley Taplin – Reremoana 

Rangatahi Pitch Awards Recipients (Project development support)

  • Te Hira Horua – Fixing The Cycle (Working title) 
  • Kararaina Keeti Ngatai-Melbourne – Māpihi Maurea

M.A.T.C.H Award Recipient ($2,500)

  • Turanga Mahutonga