Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) has launched the organisation’s Te Rautaki Māori, and announced new funding initiatives to support the strategy. NZFC Board Chair, Kerry Prendergast, hosted guests at the National Library of New Zealand where Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage launched the strategy.
As well as the Minister launching the strategy, NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan announced Te Rautaki MāoriFeature Film Initiative, a one-off $2 million investment for dramatic features in any genre where the director and at least one other key creative is Māori; and He Pounamu, an ongoing fund of up to $2.5 million in investment for dramatic feature films made in Te Reo Māori, by Māori filmmakers. Other initiatives introduced specifically for Māori include a Te Reo development fund which will adopt bespoke support for the development of Te Reo projects; devolved funding supporting internships, mentoring and professional placements for Māori filmmakers, and rangatahi (youth) development in the form of wānanga, workshops and programmes for young Māori creatives.
To assist in implementing the strategy, a new role, Pou Whakahaere, has been established. This role will provide strategic and cultural advice to the Board, management and staff of Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga, and lead the development of meaningful partnerships between the NZFC and Māori film industry.
The nine wahine Māori writers and directors of Waru became the inaugural recipients of Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga Māori Screen Excellence Awards, an award offered to Māori filmmakers whose work makes an impact locally and/or internationally. At the event, Briar Grace-Smith, Awanui Simich-Pene, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Winstanley, Paula Jones and Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu were each presented with a grant of $50,000 to assist with progressing their filmmaking careers.