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He Waiora
– Ngā Pakiaka Incubator Programme

Eight short films by young Māori filmmakers developed and produced by Māoriland Film Festival (MFF), New Zealand’s international Indigenous film festival. 

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The Retrieval

(13 mins)

Written by Matilda Poasa
Directed by Aree Kapa
Director of Photography – Ryan Alexander Lloyd

A young man, Kaea is faced with the decision whether to risk the most important thing in his life to fulfil a promise to his elders.

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The Voyager’s Legacy

(10 mins)

Written and directed by Bailey Poching
Director of Photography – Ryan Alexander Lloyd

Ponsonby, Auckland, 1976

Set during the Dawn Raids, The Voyagers Legacy follows the children of a Samoan family, as they reimagine their bustling Ponsonby home as a magical, whimsical fairytale world of swords and sorcery.

The Dawn Raids of 1974-76 were a time when the New Zealand Police were instructed by the government to enter homes and/or stop people on the street and ask for permits, visas, passports – anything that proved a person’s right to be in the country. This blunt instrument was applied almost exclusively to Pacific Islanders, despite the bulk of overstayers at the time being from Europe or North America. Dr Melani Anae describes these raids as ‘the most blatantly racist attack on Pacific peoples by the New Zealand government in New Zealand’s history’.

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Ngā Riwha a Tama

(11 mins)

Written and directed by Keeti Ngatai Melbourne
Director of Photography – Richard Curtis

A young scruffy boy who loves hunting with the best Hunter on the East Coast, his Uncle Brown. Kei te haere māua ki te whakangau Tia.

Ngā Riwha a Tama is about the intergenerational cycle of depression and toxic masculinity amongst Māori men. Uncle Brown is your classic East Coast Māori man. He is idolised by his 9-year-old nephew Tama. When Tama goes on his first ever hunt with his uncle he follows and imitates his every move. But Uncle Brown is not okay.

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E Rangi Rā

(12 mins)

Written and directed by Tioreore Ngatai Melbourne 
Director of Photography – Mike Jonathan

He Ao hou tēnei ao e hurihuri nei

E Rangi Rā is set in the early 1800s following Ngāpuhi’s attack on Te Whānau a Hinerupe. Armed with European muskets this attack had a devastating long-lasting impact on Te Whānau a Hinerupe and their descendants.

In the midst of brutal inter-tribal warfare, a young girl, Rangi is separated from her mother. In her journey to safety she befriends Hiwa, a young man who has also been separated from his whānau.

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The Politics of Toheroa Soup

(7 mins)

Written and directed by Tiana Trego Hall

A pūkōrero about whānau, kai and me.

The Politics of Toheroa Soup’ is Tiana Trego Hall’s personal story of her whānau and their traditional kai, the protected giant surf clam, toheroa.

Once a plentiful food source for iwi across New Zealand toheroa were gathered to near collapse after word of their deliciousness spread around the world.

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Street Lights

(16 mins)

Written and directed by Te Mahara Tamehana
Director of Photography – Ryan Alexander Lloyd

A story of redemption, forgiveness and love between three generations.

Kawiti, 17 is trying to find a way out of his difficult home life. He deals drugs and takes risks on the streets of Kaitaia in the Far North. One night he is faced with a decision that will determine the rest of his life.

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Manu Masters

(18 mins)

Written and directed by Te Waiarangi Ratana
Director of Photography – Isaac Te Reina


MANU MASTERS is a coming-of-age comedy inspired by films like the Last Dragon and the original Karate Kid. Manu Masters must learn how to bomb from Matua Pai to save both his reputation and his self esteem.

The film is fun and colourful with an exaggerated set of characters. It tackles themes of identity, purpose and great expectations.

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(10 mins)

Written and directed by Oriwa Hakaraia
Director of Photography – Mike Jonathan

When a headstrong young Māori man finds himself a captive in a palatial manor house in England he uncovers a trade in Indigenous people as exotica. Ruarangi must find a way to escape and return to his homeland.

Ruarangi is a thriller set in the early 1800’s. It begins with a young and mischievous Māori man, Ruarangi who flees his father’s anger and soon finds himself a captive on a tall-ship heading to England. On arrival he is sold to an earl to be part of his collection of Indigenous exotica.

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About the Ngā Pakiaka Incubator Programme

He Waiora are 8 short films by young Māori filmmakers developed and produced by Māoriland Film Festival (MFF), New Zealand’s international Indigenous film festival. 

When COVID-19 cancelled MFF2020 Māoriland’s film leadership group, Ngā Pakiaka began creating their first professional short films. During New Zealand’s first lockdown, they pitched ideas and started writing. Their work became the Ngā Pakiaka Incubator Programme – supported by Māoriland Film Festival, NZ Film Commission, Sundance Institute’s Respond and Reimagine Plan and Department of Post. 

Māoriland Productions selected eight projects:

  • The Retrieval, directed by Aree Kapa
  • The Voyager’s Legacy, written directed by Bailey Poching
  • Ngā Riwha a Tama, written and directed by Keeti Ngatai-Melbourne
  • E Rangi Rā, written and directed by Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne 
  • Street Lights, writted and directed by Te Mahara Tamehana 
  • The Politics of Toheroa Soup, created by Tiana Trego-Hall
  • Manu Masters, written and directed by Te Waiarangi Ratana 
  • Ruarangi, written and directed by Oriwa Hakaraia 

Over the past 18 months, these young Māori filmmakers received mentorship from industry experts from across the Indigenous world with script and craft development before production began across New Zealand. 

The films premiered at Māoriland Film Festival in June 2022 to a sold-out, laugh-out-loud crowd. 

‘He Waiora’ meaning a reflection of life is the theme of this collection of films. Each story is ambitious and a celebration of the types of stories that can be explored when young people are given the freedom and support to create.


Aree Kapa

Aree Kapa

He uri ahau nō Te Aupouri kī Te Kao. Aree hails from the very far north of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Aree joined Māoriland three years ago whilst studying for her Bachelor of Arts in Screen and Media Studies at Waikato University. After graduating Aree took up the full-time role as the Rangatahi Coordinator for Māoriland filmmaking workshops across New Zealand.

The Retrieval is Aree’s directorial debut. It is written and produced by Matilda Poasa who works alongside Aree at Māoriland. “This short film is mine and Matilda’s first collaboration together, our first of many and a dream come true.”

“My love and interest for film came to me as a young teenager when I would spend every weekend with my Nan. As a storyteller, I dream of seeing more faces like my own in beautiful films from our Indigenous whānau. I want the stories of our people, our Nannies our Koros, our elders to be seen on the big screen so that generations to come are reminded of those who paved the way for them.”

Bailey Poching

Bailey Poching

Of both Maori and Samoan descent, Bailey Poching is the writer/director of The Voyager’s Legacy. Bailey is pursuing his dream to tell different stories about brown Pacific people.

“Growing up I always felt a strong impulse to tell stories be it drawing my own home-made comic books or writing short stories. I remember at 16 watching an old French movie in Film Studies and being blindsided when it made me cry. I realised that a film, when made with conviction, can reach across boundaries of time, culture and language”.

Bailey is currently working on a feature of The Voyager’s Legacy. When he’s not making films, he makes people laugh as a comedian. 

Tioreore Ngatai Melbourne

Tioreore Ngatai Melbourne

Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne is of Ngāti Porou and Tūhoe descent. Tioreore grew up on the East Coast and attended Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kawakawa mai Tawhiti. After school she  attended Toi Whakaari (NZ Drama school), majoring in Acting. She graduated in 2020. 

Tioreore has already starred in a number of major New Zealand films including Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Cousins, Whina and We Are Still Here. 

E Rangi Rā is Tioreore’s directorial debut.

Keeti Ngatai Melbourne

Keeti Ngatai Melbourne

He uri nō Ngati Porou me Ngai Tūhoe, Keeti Ngatai-Melbourne was born and bred on the East Coast of New Zealand in a small town called Te Araroa.

Moving to Auckland to study film and media Keeti is now working in the film and television industry.

“My love for my whānau, my hapu, my iwi nurtured a natural sense of creativity and the urge to tell my people’s stories. Filmmaking gives me a way to tell these stories that are relevant to this generation.”

Keeti is the writer and director of Ngā Riwha a Tama. 

Te Waiarangi Ratana

Te Waiarangi Ratana

Te Waiarangi Ratana is of Tūhoe descent. Raised by a single mother Te Waiarangi was surrounded by a whānau of contemporary Māori visual artists who sparked his creative interests from a young age.

Te Waiarangi is working as an Assistant Director and has worked on productions including Wellington Paranormal, Mystic, Mr. Corman, Avatar, Millie Lies Low, Colonial Combat and Savage.

“After working on a mix of different productions, watching, listening and learning, I felt I had the tools I needed to collaborate and lead a crew to make something special and this is Manu Masters”.

Te Waiarangi is represented by Frank Management.

Te Mahara Tamehana

Te Mahara Tamehana

Te Mahara is of Ngāti Hine/Ngapuhi descent and grew up in the Far North, predominantly in Kaitaia.

Te Mahara’s passion for filmmaking started when he attended a Māoriland workshop at 14. Since then he has made content for his community and with other filmmakers from all around the world. At 16 he was one of the two youngest ever NZ filmmakers to have a film premiere at an international film festival (Bub, ImagineNATIVE, Toronto 2019).

“What I love most about film is the feeling of expressing myself; being free. I love sharing stories with people, portraying true emotion. I use filmmaking as a way to reflect social issues that affect us as Māori youth”.

Te Mahara wrote and directed Street Lights as a tribute to his community. 

Oriwa Hakaraia

Oriwa Hakaraia

Oriwa Hakaraia, 19, of Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kapu descent, is a filmmaker based in Ōtaki. Raised in te ao Māori, she is passionate about Indigenous storytelling. Alongside Te Mahara Tamehana, Oriwa cowrote and directed ‘Bub’, which premiered in Toronto in 2019, making them the youngest NZ directors to premiere at an international film festival.

Oriwa facilitates filmmaking workshops for rangatahi across Aotearoa through Ngā Pakiaka, and programmes for the Māoriland Rangatahi Film Festival.

Ruarangi is Oriwa’s first feature film. As part of NPIP, Oriwa filmed the opening scene of Ruarangi as a stand-alone short film in December 2021.

Tiana Hall

Tiana Hall

Kia ora! Ko Tiana Pēwhairangi Trego- Hall ahau, I am a mokopuna of Te Rarawa, Ngāti Whātua and Tainui iwi and of the Numangatini people from the Island of Mangaia in the Cook Islands. I am 20 and am in my final year at Auckland University of Technology studying a BA in Māori Development in Māori Media. I’ve spent my life between Auckland and Kaihu, a little settlement in Northern Kaipara. In these communities, I have been filled up with knowledge from the wāhine in my whānau, including our stories about the toheroa.

As a first-year uni student I asked my Nan to share with me a favourite whānau recipe. This interview led to a kōrero about the toheroa and its significance to our whānau, the impact of seabed legislation and our efforts to save the toheroa from extinction.


Libby Hakaraia

Libby Hakaraia

He uri nō Ngāti Kapu, Ngāti Raukawa Libby has worked as a producer, director and writer in television and film for the past 25 years. She has directed over 20 broadcast documentaries as well as two short dramas that have travelled the globe. A producer of the recently released feature film Cousins and of some 26 short films that have screened around the world.

For the past 9 years Libby has led the Māoriland Film Festival, the Māoriland Hub and implemented filmmaking training initiatives for rangatahi Māori in Ōtaki and across Aotearoa. 

Madeleine de Young

Madeleine Hakaraia de Young

Maddy (Ngāti Kapu, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga) leads programming for the Māoriland Film Festival and oversees the delivery of Māoriland projects including Te Uru Maire – the Māoriland Rangatahi Strategy.

This work was recognised in 2021 when Maddy was named a finalist for Young New Zealander of the Year.

Matilda Poasa

Matilda Poasa

Tālofa lava, mālō le soifua. I’m Matilda Poasa. I’m Sāmoan from the villages of Falelatai and Faleasi’u on my mum’s side and my dad is from the villages of Saleaula and Vaie’e.

The Retrieval is my debut as a writer and producer.I ’m also a producer on all of the Ngā Pakiaka films. As a storyteller, I’m motivated by the desire to see more Māori, Pasifika and Indigenous stories and people on the big screen and to have those stories unapologetically told by the people to whom they belong.

The Ngā Pakiaka Incubator Programme was made with the support of

Maoriland Productions White & Gold Large Alt