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Pasifika group to become formal association

PIFT, Auckland, 17 November 2015: Pacific Islands film and television industry members have agreed to register their four-year-old grouping as a formal association – PIFT (Pacific Islanders in Film & Television).

Fifteen signatories added their names to the founding membership of PIFT NZ, Pacific Islands Film and Television New Zealand.

They were among more than 50 delegates who turned up to the 2015 PIFT NZ Symposium, held at Unitec in Auckland on Friday 13th November.

“This is an important step in developing the Pacific voice in New Zealand’s cultural landscape. PIFT allows us to have a network of and for Pacific people in film and television. It provides information to members and can act as a voice in moving Pacific initiatives forward,“ says symposium convener Aaron Taouma.

Registering PIFT will allow the organisation to establish formal relations with strategic partners, and run programmes to fulfil its goals.

Draft objectives for the PIFT constitution include providing an “industry support group exclusively for Pasifika working in screen production.”

Also to “provide an industry lobby group which promotes the interests of Pasifika in screen production.”

Strong support for the symposium came from the New Zealand Film Commission, Script to Screen NZ, the New Zealand Writer’s Guild, and Film Auckland.

As well as background briefings from those organisations, talks were also given by film-maker Rene Naufahu, Tagata Pasifika – Sun Pix executive producer Taualeo’o Steven Stehlin (MNZOM), Coconet TV founder Lisa Taouma and Pollywood director Craig Fasi.

Subjects included the challenges of fund raising for Pasifika film, progress towards a dedicated Pasifika TV channel, and an afternoon session on the craft of script writing.

The idea for a dedicated Pasifika film and television organisation was first mooted at a 2011 meeting of PIMA, the Pacific Islands Media Association.

This was when debate took shape about a possible television channel dedicated to island communities, and the need for fresh content to fill programming hours.

These and other talks were continued at the 2013 Pacific Arts Cluster conference at the Auckland Museum, with participants agreeing to further exploration.

Delegates to Friday’s symposium endorsed the appointment of a board that will finalise the constitution, register the association, and formulate strategic plans.

PIFT NZ’s symposium was part of Auckland Council’s Urbanesia Contemporary Pasifika Festival and was hosted by Unitec’s Department of Performing and Screen Arts.