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Ngā Aho Whakaari to celebrate 20 years

The Māori screen production organisation, Ngā Aho Whakaari, will celebrate 20 years of operation with a two-day hui and the inaugural Māori Screen Gala Ball & Awards.

Named Te Pou Ihiihi, A moment to stabilize, to gather around something solid, look back and look forward, will feature international and local guest speakers, workshops, a $5000 pitching competition and the launch of the Ngā Aho Whakaari Short Films Project.

Māori Television CEO Paora Maxwell will deliver the keynote address, and a panel including Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell, broadcaster Willie Jackson and television presenter/te reo expert Scotty Morrison will discuss Te Mātāwai, the new entity leading the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori and how it will impact on Māori broadcasting.

Featured speaker Darlene Johnson was a guest at the first Ngā Aho Whakaari hui-a-tau 20 years ago. An indigenous Australian director and actor, Johnson’s films include Bluey (Best Short Film, First Peoples Festival, Montreal), The Redfern Story (Best Documentary, ATOM Awards), documentary Stolen Generations and a modern-day supernatural myth Crocodile Dreaming.

Berlin-based New Zealander Maryanne Redpath, who heads the Berlinale’s Generation section, will also attend as part of her worldwide search for films.

Celebrating Our Films will be a panel session with Mahana director Lee Tamahori; The Dark Horse’s Cliff Curtis; the director of Poi E (pictured, top) Tearepa Kahi; actress and director Katie Wolfe; and Born to Dance director Tammy Davis.

For the Ngā Aho Whakaari Short Films Project, writer Michael Bennett (Matariki, Kaitangata Twist, The Factory) will encourage writers to pitch their short films to a panel of experienced producers & directors. Bennett will mentor three successful pitchers, with the best short to be produced.

The inaugural Māori Screen Gala Ball & Awards will present eight key awards to honour success in the screen industry.

Ngā Aho Whakaari’s Te Pou Ihiihi will run 7 – 8 October at Waipapa Marae at Auckland University. The Māori Screen Gala Ball & Awards will run on the evening of 8 October at the Stamford Plaza Hotel. The hui and awards are sponsored by the NZFC, Māori Television Service, Te Māngai Paho, Te Puni Kōkiri, NZ On Air, Park Road Post and South Pacific Pictures.

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