Maori Film Festival programme announced

The organisers of the third Wairoa Moari Film Festival are proud to announce the launch of its programme, available online at the Official Website: This year’s festival event will occur at the dawn of the Matariki celebrations, over Queen’s Birthday Weekend May 30th to June 2nd. The festival will celebrate Maori and indigenous film achievement, and this year will pay special tribute to three of our early film pioneers, Witarina Harris, Don Selwyn and Barry Barclay.

Opening the festival will be the classic comedy feature CAME A HOT FRIDAY, starring Don Selwyn and Billy T. James. A Mexican-Maori themed celebration will take place, including a film-makers networking hui sponsored by Nga Aho Whakaari Maori in Film & Television. Other feature films featuring Don Selwyn will be screened, including RANGI’S CATCH and THE LOST TRIBE. “Don Selwyn was one of the founding Patrons of our festival, and we were greatly saddened by his passing last year,” says Festival Chairperson Huia Koziol. “Don’s early support helped make the festival a reality, and his legacy will live on both on the screen and in the continued success of the Wairoa Maori Film Festival.”

The festival will honour the memory of pioneer Maori actress Witarina Harris with a piano-accompanied screening of the silent classic UNDER THE SOUTHERN CROSS. This 1927 feature film will be the Centrepiece of this year’s festival. Witarina Harris passed away early in 2007, at age 101.

Also highlighted at the festival will be the works of Barry Barclay. “Barry Barclay was special guest at the 2006 festival,” says Mrs. Koziol. “The loss of Barry to the Maori film-making community this year leaves a huge gap in our knowledge and dreamscape.”

A special screening of Barry Barclay’s feature documentary THE NEGLECTED MIRACLE will be presented. The documentary explores the plight of indigenous genetic conservation initiatives around the world, with sequences shot in Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Australia. Also to be screened will be episodes of the TANGATA WHENUA series, which Barry Barclay directed in collaboration with John O’Shea and Michael King. “The legacy of these three leaders in the Maori film world will live on, on screen, and in our hearts and minds at this year’s Wairoa Maori Film Festival.”

The international programme will include works from Canada, Australia, Sweden and USA. The New Zealand premiere of the feature film FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND presents a poignant and wryly funny story of family and healing. This is the first feature by Seminole/Creek film director Sterlin Harjo, a guest of the festival in 2005. From Canada, comes SEEKING BIMAADIZIIWIN, a touching story of youth suicide and depression in native communities. An extensive Australian selection is presented, including New Zealand premiere of the offbeat, quirky and poignant BIT OF BLACK BUSINESS native short drama series. “The Wairoa Maori Film Festival will be priced low to encourage community attendance, for example all Marae screenings will be by gold coin koha”, says Festival Chairperson Huia Koziol.

This year’s festival will also include the MAORI FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS DINNER with entertainment by Maori guitar veteran BILLY TK. The music of BILLY TK still reflects his early influences of Hendrix, Santana & McLaughlin and every time he plays the young people are gobsmacked and the oldies relive the past!

Gaiety Cinema and Taihoa Marae, Wairoa
Friday 30th May to Monday June 2nd 2008

MIC Toi Rerehiko & Academy Cinema, Auckland, June 2008 (final dates TBC)
Paramount Cinema & NZ Film Archive Mediaplex, Wellington, June 2008 (final dates TBC)
Regent Cinema, Taumarunui, July 2008 (final dates TBC)


  1. Greg Whaiapu says:

    Who do you contact to have these films played at Wairoa, i’m wanting to do something similar in Auckland

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