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Maoriland Film Festival

10 Mar 2014

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Maoriland Film Festival
Mar 10, 2014

New Zealand’s new premier film festival devoted to international indigenous cinema will be launched in Otaki on the 26th March 2014. The MAORILAND FILM FESTIVAL runs for four days and features some of the best indigenous short films and feature films from New Zealand and the world.

Otaki has some truly unique screening venues including historic Rangiatea Church, Raukawa Marae, the new multi-million dollar events centre Nga Purapura and the art deco Civic Theatre – all of which are being outfitted with the latest cinema projection equipment. Local school children and a team of volunteers will ensure the filmgoer’s experience is memorable; with beachside accommodation for visitors, and the best of fresh foods.

A full schedule and ticket sales are available on-line now at 

The festival offers a range of well known and new films introduced by the filmmakers themselves.

  • Taiki Waititi presents his own unique body of award winning work;
  • Quinton Hita and Tearepa Kahi discuss last year’s box office hit MT ZION.
  • Jason Ryle, the director of the ImagineNATIVE festival in Canada presents a range of acclaimed short films;
  • Aaron Pederson the influential Aboriginal actor presents his recent action drama MYSTERY ROAD;
  • David Whitehead explores his expert work as a sound designer and composer for films like AVATAR, KING KONG and ELYSIUM.
  • Local Kapiti filmmakers Himiona Grace, Louis Sutherland and Mark Albiston show and talk about their recent features THE PA BOYS, and SHOPPING. 
  • Cinema stars Temuera Morrison (ONCE WERE WARRIORS, MT ZION), Lawrence Makoare (CROOKED EARTH, LORD OF THE RINGS, THE DEAD LANDS) and James Rolleston (BOY, GENESIS, THE DEAD LANDS) will share their onscreen and offscreen experiences with festival audiences

MAORILAND FILM FESTIVAL (MFF) also celebrates Otaki’s history as a location for film production.

In 1921 an Australian film production company was set up in Otaki, and made at least six films. Some fragments of these remain today and will be screened at the beginning of the MFF.

The company described Otaki then, as the “Los Angeles of New Zealand’s Moving Picture Industry”. The company called itself the ‘Maoriland Film Company’. Nearly 100 years later the MAORILAND FILM FESTIVAL aims to become the Sundance Festival of the Southern Hemisphere.

The potential economic development for Otaki is also significant. There are 55 short films and 9 feature films showing to an audience that could be as large as 12,000 people over the 4.5 days of the festival.

“Robert Redford started the Sundance Film Festival in a small town in the mountains in Utah with the same size population as Otaki (6,500). Today, Park City attracts some 40,000 people during the 2 week festival.” said MMF festival director, and Otaki filmmaker Libby Hakaraia.

International filmmakers are coming from Australia and Canada as well as films from the Sundance Film Festival, Europe and Asia.

A history of Maori filmmaking is the subject of the MFF’s key note lecture. It will be presented at the Rangiatea church by film producer Tainui Stephens.

There is the launch of the youth (rangatahi) film making competition with a special screening of films made by local students. There are 5 screenings for all the schools on the Kapiti Coast. These events will give students rare opportunities to meet and ask questions of the filmmakers. “The involvement of our rangatahi in telling their own stories will help keep the art of film alive”. said MFF director Libby Hakaraia.

Every film festival has a social calendar. There are plenty of times and opportunities for festival goers to mix and mingle with filmmakers. There are sessions for discussing film issues that affect community and industry alike.

In another coup the concluding night on Saturday the 29th features the red carpet and movie star glamour of the MAORILAND PARTY where popular musicians Warren Maxwell (Trinity Roots, Fat Freddys Drop), Dallas Tamaira (Fat Freddys Drop) and Mark Vanilau will play what is bound to be a legendary show.

The inaugural MAORILAND FILM FESTIVAL celebrates the power of film to move, entertain and touch us all. To watch a compelling big screen story in the dark, seated alongside each other, is one of the best ways to experience great stories that captivate, inspire and thrill us.