At the Ngā Aho Whakaari Hui on 7 and 8 October, NZFC CEO Dave Gibson announced the details of a third gender scholarship, following the awards supported by Jane Campion in 2015, and Gaylene Preston earlier this year.
The 2017 scholarship is to support wahine Māori directors and will be awarded in memory of pioneering filmmaker, Ramai Hayward.
Born in 1916, Ramai Hayward was New Zealand’s first Māori filmmaker, working as an actor, camerawoman, director and scriptwriter from the 1930s, through to the early ‘70s. Her career took her to Australia, Albania, the UK and China, where she and her husband, Rudall Hayward, made the first English language films after the Communist revolution.
Making the announcement, Gibson said, “For a variety of reasons, a reasonable number of Māori have been successful in front of and behind the camera. And some of these reasons are to do with the work of people like John O’Shea, Barry Barclay, Merata Mita, Don Selwyn and others who are no longer with us.
But Māori women today are completely absent as feature film directors.
We know there are talented Māori female directors … but so far they don’t seem to be attached to market and production ready scripts.”
The Ramai Hayward Scholarship will offer $50 000 to help at least two wahine Māori directors get scripts to the market and production-ready stage. The NZFC and Ngā Aho Whakaari are working together to develop the selection criteria, and it is expected that at least one workshop will be part of the process. Details on how to apply will be published on the NZFC website before the end of 2016. For news and updates about this, and other opportunities, please sign up for the NZFC newsletter.
We are grateful to Ramai’s family who have graciously allowed us to use her name to encourage and inspire wahine Māori to develop and share their stories on the big screen.