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Momentum Builds For Wairoa Maori Film Festival

Wairoa, October 29, 2004

Press Release: Momentum Builds For Wairoa Maori Film Festival 2005

Momentum continues to build for the first Wairoa Maori Film Festival, to be held next June at the commencement of the Matariki celebrations.

"We're excited at the news from the All Roads National Geographic indigenous film festival in Los Angeles that our patron board is now joined by Cliff Curtis and Rena Owen," says festival director Leo Koziol. "With the mana of these industry leaders, a unique energy is growing for an exciting event here in Wairoa next year."

Supporters of the first Maori Film Festival in Wairoa now include Nga Aho Whakaari (the national association of Maori film and television makers) and the New Zealand Writers Guild, who plan to host a Maori Screenwriters Hui alongside the festival. "It is hoped to have a Maori scriptwriting competition at the festival, with prizes for scripts in Maori and in English," said Mr. Koziol.

Over the long weekend the organising committee for the Wairoa Maori Film Festival held their inaugural hui in Nuhaka. "An incorporated society is to be established, under the banner of Te Ara Rautaki," explained Mr. Koziol. "Te Ara Rautaki means setting out a strategic path for a long-term future."

Executive Committee members are Leo Koziol (Chairman), Huia Koziol, Alan Chilcott, Huia Brown, Sonia Anderson, Desna Whaanga-Schollum, Tania Cotter, Doreen Taiapa, and Pauline Tangiora. "Our members bring a wealth of national and international experience and networks, with specialised skills in events management, marketing, branding, web design and film-making," says Mr. Koziol. "The stage is set for an exciting and successful event."

The theme for the inaugural festival is Mana Wairoa: The World Through a Maori Lens. The film programme is still in the early stages of planning, with the festival including historic and contemporary material. Current patrons include Merata Mita, Don Selwyn, Mayor Bob Harvey, Karen Sidney, Roger Donaldson, Witi Ihimaera, Dame Georgina Kirby, Derek Fox, Mika and Mayor Les Probert of Wairoa.

The Gaiety Cinema and Theatre in Wairoa has expressed their support for the festival and will make their venue available for the event. A film festival website has been set up, providing information about the festival and outlining the attractions that Wairoa has to offer — www.manawairoa.com.

“The goal will be to turn traditional perceptions of Wairoa (crime, poverty) on their head and make the town a centre for cultural creativity and renaissance,” said Mr Koziol. “This is something very positive for the community."

“It is for the locals as much as the tourists, to celebrate New Zealand’s unique culture and its achievements within the film industry.”


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