The inaugural Ngā Aho Whakaari Māori Screen Awards were presented on Saturday night at a Gala Ball at Auckland’s Stamford Plaza Hotel.
The awards ceremony followed Ngā Aho Whakaari’s two-day Hui at Auckland University’s Waipapa Marae, in which promotion of te reo Māori was fundamental to all discussions. The impact and opportunity on screen funding and production of the new governing structure, Te Mātāwai, was referenced and riffed on by several speakers in presentations and panel sessions and by audience members from the floor.
As well as new policy, new support for Māori screen projects was revealed during the hui. Ngā Aho Whakaari announced a short film development and funding initiative, for which Park Road Post will contribute $15,000 of services. The NZFC announced that the third of its female-focused scholarship programmes (after the JC Cinefem and Gaylene Preston Director Awards) will be the Ramai Hayward Scholarship – a $50,000 fund to help two Māori women directors develop scripts to market-ready stage.
Broadcasters’ programme commissioners heard programme pitches for a $5000 prize, which was won by Moemoea Mohoawhenua. After the local and international success this year of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, it was no surprise that Taika Waititi took the Film Commission’s Superhero award.
The hui and Māori Screen Gala Ball & Awards were sponsored by: NZ Film Commission, Māori Television Service, Te Māngai Paho, Te Puni Kōkiri, NZ On Air, Park Road Post, South Pacific Pictures and the NZ Peace Foundation.
In celebration of 20 years of advocacy, professional development and capacity-building, those honoured at the inaugural Ngā Aho Whakaari Māori Screen Industry Awards were:
TE POU TAIOREORE
New Zealand Film Commission Super Hero Award
for taking Māori film to the universe and beyond
TE POU TAUNAKI
NZ On Air Award
for contribution to capacity building and bringing in new talent
TE POU AWEAWE
South Pacific Pictures Award
for inspirational creativity on screen
TE POU TAIRANGA
Te Māngai Pāho Pitch Winner
TE POU TŪHOTO
Māori Television Treaty Partnership Award
for his unerring support and discerning ears
TE POU TATAU POUNAMU
NZ Peace Foundation Award
for their contribution to peace and aroha
Kim Webby & Christina Milligan & Roger Grant, The Price Of Peace
TE POU MAROHI
Ngā Aho Whakaari Melissa Wikaire Memorial Award
for her tenacity and strength in bringing our stories to the screen
TE POU IHIIHI
Te Puni Kōkiri Award
for his contribution to te reo Māori & the development of the Māori Screen Industry