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Cultural feast of art and cinema

A feast of indigenous art and cinema will rollout over Queen’s Birthday weekend.

The 2019 Wairoa Māori Film Festival will run over four days across three venues.

As well as a broad selection of films the festival will include a Tātau Tātau popup art gallery, a film-making workshop and the Gala evening.

This is the 14th Māori Film Festival with festival director Leo Koziol at the helm.

He said the organising team is very excited about how Wairoa is uplifting itself to the national stage.

“We were at the Wairoa Showcase in Parliament and want to do all we can to promote Wairoa, both here and internationally."

"We have also responded to the Giblin Group’s Economic Development Report Whakarauora- The Regeneration of Long Water which states that Wairoa needs a community art gallery.

“For this year’s festival we have established the Tātau Tātau popup art gallery which will showcase the best of Wairoa artists.

“We hope in a few years it will become a permanent hub for Ngati Kahungunu dreaming, creativity and film making."

Mr Koziol is also particularly excited about two filmmakers with local connections, Tessa Williams and Shane Rangi.

Tessa Williams whanau hails from Nuhaka, and she premieres her short film "You Cut Out My Mother Tongue" telling her mother's journey of how without Te Reo Māori she has ached for this lost knowledge.

Shane Rangi is from Wairoa, and his film "Die Like A Shark - Me Mate Ururoa" tells a personal story of how an ageing fighter’s life falls apart as he refuses to face the end of his once bright career.

Shane is a professional actor and has previously starred in both the Narnia trilogy and Spartacus series. His film screens on Sunday afternoon at the Gaiety with "Soldiers Without Guns."

Mr Koziol said another highlight of the festival is "Merata How My Mum Decolonised the Screen" at the Gaiety on Sunday.

“We are hoping for whanau of Merata to be there for a very special screening of this film about Merata Mita, pioneer of Maori cinema.”

All the screenings take place at Kahungunu Marae, Friday to Sunday, with the Gala at the Gaiety on Saturday, and films all day at the Gaiety on Sunday. The Tātau Tātau Pop Up Gallery we be at Kahungunu Marae all weekend, and the programme also features a weaving wananga and mirimiri at Morere.

The festival will begin with a powhiri on Friday, May 31 at 11am at Kahungunu Marae followed by The Kahungunu Film Hui on making movies in Wairoa, establishing a Wairoa collective and a pitch Wairoa competition.

Opening night will feature Mana Wahine short films from 6pm and Pasifica Shorts, aimed at a mature audience from 8pm.

Saturday, June 1 screenings will continue at Kahungunu Marae with Moana Nui A Kiwa shorts from 10.30am, New Voices shorts at 12.30pm and a 2pm special event ‘In Conversation with Fred Renata’- reflections from a Master Cinematographer.

The Festival Gala Awards night will take place at the Gaiety Theatre on Saturday, June 1 with the reception beginning at 6pm followed by the gala at 7pm.

The evening will feature music, films, moving image and the magic that is Wairoa!

Versatile entertainer Fran Kora will perform at the gala event. Kora has been a star in theatre productions, acted in a movie and has been a television sports presenter.

He’s slain audiences with Kora, the band that bears the family name and has performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra as part of the Modern Māori Quartet.

Mr Koziol said it will be great to have an artist of Fran Kora’s calibre at the gala event.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little praised the work of Mr Koziol and his team.

“The film festival is a fabulous event and after 14-years is a major part of Wairoa’s culture. I encourage as many people as possible to attend all, or parts, of the festival.”

Tickets are on sale now on at $150 for a Festival Pass (includes marae stay and meals) $50 Gala ticket and general admission day passes for $10.

For the complete festival line up head to and click on programme.

16 May 2019

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