MEDIA RELEASE - Future Maori film-makers shine


Thursday 28 August 2014, 9:21am
Bethune Communications

Future Maori film-makers shine – Aotearoa Maori Film Festival Sydney and Brisbane 2014

This year’s Aotearoa Maori film festival screened last weekend in Sydney and showcased a new film workshop for tamariki (children). Although, only in its second year the festival has a unique market and heads to Brisbane 5, 6 September.

New Zealand organiser of the film festival Brent Reihana says, “We’re show-casing our Maori talent in film-making and also growing the potential talent of our tamariki through these creative film workshops.”

Enthusiastic youth participated in the 1-day workshop and learned more about Tikanga Maori and how it weaves in to making films. Participants were also taught skills in how to develop a creative concept, and how to tell a Maori story through whakatauaki (Maori proverb) plus hands on activities including how to use a digital app. Audience members had the honour of seeing the finished work on screen as part of the film festival.

Mr Reihana says, “Our aim is to build an audience for Maori films in three locations – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. To achieve this ambitious goal Brent and his film festival team need bums on seats. He admits, “Our priority is to sell tickets and make enough money to sustain the festival.”

TemaKwan Fenton an experienced Maori film-maker now based in Sydney inspires the tamariki
film-makers of tomorrow by sharing her knowledge. She says, “The workshop builds confidence and the kids are really inspired to unleash their creative potential.” Qualified teachers also helped to design and teach the programme.

The festival mainly screens short films both traditional and contemporary including Te Reo Maori across all genres. In the future Mr Reihana hopes to include documentaries and feature films to offer a broader range of films to an audience.

The 2014 Aotearoa Maori film festival saw the international debut of New Zealand’s first 3D Maori animated short film THE RANGIMOEKAUS and also the Cannes festival film Home by Api Ipo and Butterfly directed by Renae Maihi – this film depicts the sensitive subject of unwanted teen pregnancy and it is told in a haunting way through poi that is also quite tragically beautiful.

Mr Reihana, a businessman and management consultant at Mantra Solutions in Sydney says one of the biggest challenges is funding the festival.

“We’d love some support from Maori and Kiwis living in New Zealand  – you can purchase a ticket to the Brisbane screening or make a donation by visiting our website.”

The festival has support from the esteemed Wairoa Maori Film Festival in New Zealand and opportunities to grow through community partnerships and sponsorship. Building relationships with local ethnic communities and lovers of indigenous films will attract interest in the film festival.

The festival also passes down knowledge to the next generations of Maori - Ka put e ruha, ka te rangatahi - As an old net withers another is remade. When an elder is no longer fit to lead, a healthier leader will stand in his place.

The Aotearoa Maori Film Festival heads to Brisbane 5, 6 September. To support the festival contact Brent Reihana or visit

For all media enquiries contact Brent Reihana (Australia +61  417 686 141)

Helena Bethune (New Zealand +61  021 176 1495)