Māori film festival in Taranaki for first time

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery | Len Lye Centre is partnering with Wairoa Māori Film Festival to present the Kiriata Māori Cinema Showcase in New Plymouth for the first time over Waitangi weekend.

The showcase will present a selection of documentaries, short films and moving image artworks made by Māori filmmakers.

It is been curated by Wairoa Māori Film Festival director Leo Koziol (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rakaipaaka) to respond to the Gallery’s exhibition Te Hau Whakatonu - A Series of Never-Ending Beginnings, which closes on 11 February.

“Kiriata Māori 2024 [Kiriata means ‘film’ or ‘cinema’] is a special programme for the Wairoa Māori Film Festival, as the full festival was unable to go ahead last year because of the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle on the East Coast. Many of the planned films will now be able to screen at the Kiriata Māori Showcase,” Koziol said.

“The showcase comprises two feature documentaries and 35 short films and moving image art works, all directed and/or written by Māori screen artists, to provide a ‘survey’ of the state of Māori cinema today.”

Event partners include Circuit Artist Moving Image Aotearoa, which had commissioned the Rematriation moving image artwork programme curated by Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka, Cicuit’s Kaitiaki Kiriata for 2024, a new curatorial position which helped present artist video in contexts framed by Te Ao Māori.

There was a programme of short films by filmmakers who whakapapa to Taranaki, Me He Maunga Teitei, including films by Aroha Awarau, Katie Wolfe and Rachel House.

Another focus work was Heather Randerson’s Te Whenua Tupu Ora, a film by the Hokianga-based Niniwa Collective which featured Kauri die-back images projected onto the sand dunes of the Hokianga.

The New Plymouth District Council gallery welcomed the festival as an important addition to the year-round film festival programme presented in the Len Lye Cinema.

“Being able to support the flood-hit community associated with the Wairoa Māori Film Festival and elevating and championing all forms of Toi Māori is important to the Gallery,” NPDC ringatohu cultural experiences Dr Zara Stanhope said.

“The alignment to Te Hau Whakatonu, which presents Toi Māori from the Gallery’s collection is critical, and we look forward to these films extending kōrero around the collection and current practice of Taranaki Iwi artists, as well as inspiring the whole Taranaki community.”

The Kiriata Māori Cinema Showcase is on at the Len Lye Centre Cinema from 2-6 February 2024. For screening times and ticket purchases, visit the gallery [ website] or call into the gallery store.