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Dates Confirmed For Wairoa Maori Film Festival

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Thursday December 16, 2004, Wairoa, Aotearoa New Zealand

The organisers of next year's Wairoa Maori Film Festival have the pleasure today of announcing the finalised dates for the town's first Maori movies showcase. The Wairoa Maori Film Festival will be held over the long Queen's Birthday Weekend, Thursday June 2nd to Monday June 6th, 2005.

"The main venue for the festival will be the beautifully restored Gaiety Theatre, which has now accepted our booking for the festival," said Festival Director Leo Koziol. "With one of the largest screens in the country, it will be a fantastic venue for a wide range of film screenings."

The festival will kick off on Thursday June 2nd with a powhiri for national and international guests, followed by an evening of short and feature film screenings paired with live entertainment. Four days of film screenings will follow, including a one day Maori Film Makers Wananga (educational workshop) on Friday June 3rd.

Opening night is hoped to have a 1950s theme. "After the movies, we hope to end the evening with a Cabaret that recaptures the spirit of Maori showbands in the good old days," said Mr. Koziol. Maori showbands are the subject of a dynamic exhibit currently underway at Te Papa museum in Wellington. "We have invited entertainer Mika to be part of this dynamic Cabaret evening."

Films of the 1950s and 1960s will be screened at the festival to recapture the unique past of Wairoa, the way New Zealand used to be.

"There will also be screenings offsite at two community-based venues, one of which we hope will be a local marae," said Mr. Koziol. "These screenings will focus on the dynamic new productions of a new generation of Maori film-makers that is being spurred on by the emergence of Maori Television into our homes."

The Wairoa Maori Film Festival will kick off the Matariki celebration period in Wairoa. "Matariki marks the Maori New Year, when the stars of Matariki (Pleiades) appear on the horizon," said Mr Koziol. "This is about recapturing an important part of our traditional cultural heritage."

"A unique energy is growing for an exciting event here in Wairoa next year which will make the town a centre for cultural creativity and renaissance," said Mr Koziol.

Festival patrons include local farmer John Bayly, Merata Mita, Cliff Curtis, Waana Davis, Don Selwyn, Witi Ihimaera and Rena Owen. A festival communications office is in the process of being established at the Gaiety Theatre.

Funding support for the film festival has been confirmed from Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.

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Authorised by: Wairoa Maori Film Festival Society & Rautaki Group Consultants 2004 PO Box 379 Wairoa * Ph. 64.6.837.8761 *

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