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Sneak Peek Of Wairoa Maori Film Festival 2006

Sneak Peek Of Wairoa Maori Film Festival 2006

As project planning for the Second Annual Wairoa Maori Film Festival 2006 progresses apace, organisers present a sneak peek of what looks set to be some of the highlights of this year's festival. The following films have been confirmed for the festival programme, which will be presented Labour Weekend this year, October 20th to 23rd 2006:


The Gathering documents an event in 1998 when indigenous elders from around the world gathered on the South Australia coast, invited there by Bunna Lawrie of the Mirnings, an Aboriginal people who believe the region is a portal into the Dream Time. Among the guests: Julian Lennon, a Bashi wisdom poet from Congo, Hawaiian Pua Mahoe, Maori Pauline Tangiora, Yolngu elder Jonny Barramula, and Siraku Tegri, of the Colombian Uw'a tribe. Named "Best Film" at the Byron Bay Film Festival, The Gathering tells the epic story of a people disconnected from their sacred ancestral lands, from their culture, and from the whales with whom they have an uncanny spiritual bond. (Maui Film Festival)



Tau Te Mauri Breath of Peace means to settle the mauri, to breath peace into the world. It is a unique documentary featuring stories of eight well known New Zealand Peace activists (including Wairoa Maori Film Festival Chairman Pauline Tangiora), natural history footage and contemporary Maori music - waiata and taonga puoro (traditional Maori musical instruments). Film-makers Kathleen Gallagher and Ruth Greenaway were awarded the Sonja Davies Peace Award by the New Zealand Prime Minister for the film Tau Te Mauri Breath Of Peace.


A special World Premiere feature drama presentation of independently produced film The Waimate Conspiracy, presenting the story of hotly contested land claims surrounding the Waimate District. With Jim Moriarty, Helen Pearse-Otene, David McPhail and John Gadsby. The Waimate Conspiracy is by Dark Horse Films and is an entry to the Wairoa Maori Film Festival.

Two films fresh from the New Zealand Film Festival currently underway in Auckland and Wellington will also be presented in Wairoa, with film-makers planning to be in attendance:


Chinese Hungarian-American film maker Sandor Lau documents the story of Starfish, his "Squeegee Bandit" living on the streets of South Auckland where he earns a living cleaning car windscreens, pouncing with the speed and grace of a tiger. Starfish is a charmer with a quick wit and a dangerous edge, an exhibitionist with a mean talent for impersonation and a lot to say about himself and those who put him where he is today. He vents about the stepfather of his kids, about the foster mother who mocked and bullied him, and about the Pakeha who stole Maori land. (NZ Film Festival) Squeegee Bandit was directed by Sandor Lau and produced by Maori film-maker Rhonda Kite.



Opoutama's Blue Bay Motor Camp has recently become a focus for community dissent following its sale into private hands and subsequent closure, subdivision and sale. The story of Blue Bay Motor Camp and the response of campers and the local, largely-Maori, community form the human nexus of an exploration of the impact of overseas ownership of New Zealand property and skyrocketing property prices in low-income communities all around New Zealand. Film-makers Abi King-Jones and Errol Wright "bring the theme of Paradise Lost uncomfortably close to home in their documentary about ‘overseas investment’ in New Zealand" (NZ Film Festival).

* * * *

The Wairoa Maori Film Festival is a nonprofit community-based venture aimed at assisting community revitalisation in Wairoa and supporting the talents and visions of our Maori film-making community. Part of this kaupapa is building links to international indigenous film-makers, which occured last year with the involvement of the National Geographic Society and the Sundance Institute. Festival organisers are this year hoping to host a delegation of indigenous film-makers from Canada, details of which will be released soon.


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