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Film festival gets full support from government

21 December 2004

Wairoa Maori film festival gets full support from government

"An indigenous film festival that is up with the world's best" - that's the ambition of the Wairoa Maori Film Festival Society. The Government is going to help Wairoa achieve this with funding of $80,000 from the Ministry of Economic Development's Regional Initiatives Fund (RIF).

“I am delighted to announce the Labour Progressive government’s support for the Wairoa Maori Film Festival” the Minister for Industry and Regional Development, Jim Anderton, said today.

”The Festival has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits to Wairoa and the Tairawhiti region by harnessing the nation-wide cultural and artistic strengths of Maori film as an attraction for the area.

“It’s no secret Wairoa has faced some serious challenges, which is why I have visited the Wairoa District several times in the last few years. On those visits I found a community that is determined to improve its social and economic position and show that Wairoa is a place which people want to visit and where they want to live. The government will help them do this by supporting creative initiatives such as the Maori Film Festival.

"The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival and the Kaikoura Seafest have shown us that annual local events, aligned with regional strengths and cultural activities can provide an economic catalyst for the area involved. These festivals have helped put towns on the map as exciting destinations.”

"The Wairoa Maori Film Festival will be a showcase of Maori film and television creativity and talent. In the first year the festival’s focus will be on Maori film and film-related activities but other cultural events such as a Maori food festival and a Maori scriptwriting competition may be developed for subsequent years," Jim Anderton said.

The RIF funding will specifically help the festival to develop strategically, thereby helping to ensure that the festival has a long term positive economic impact on both Wairoa and the wider region.

The base for the Festival will be the recently restored Gaiety Theatre in Wairoa. It is anticipated that the Festival will be launched in June 2005 during Matariki (the Maori New Year), which is becoming a major celebration in the Maori calendar.

In addition to funding from the Ministry of Economic Development the Festival is receiving financial support from Te Waka Toi/Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Commission. Private sector sponsorship is also being sought by the festival organisers, the Wairoa Maori Film Festival Society.


The Regional Initiatives Fund (RIF) is a discretionary fund administered by the Ministry of Economic Development. Each application is sent to the Minister for Economic, Industry and Regional Development for approval.

On average 20 projects are funded through the RIF each year. RIF grants range in value between $28,000 to $200,000 with most between $50,000 and $70,000. The majority of RIF grants are paid to territorial local authorities. In some cases, the council holds the money on behalf of groups that are not a legal entity. Each application is based on partial funding on a case by case basis. A ‘local contribution’ is an essential part of any RIF application.

The purpose of the RIF is to provide support for regional projects that are consistent with economic, social and environmental objectives but cannot be funded through other Government assistance programmes. A region is defined as a geographical concentration of communities with similar economic, social and environmental characteristics and objectives.

The Regional Initiatives Fund was created to provide catalyst funding for regional projects that fall outside the criteria of existing Government assistance programmes, but have the potential to leverage economic growth as well as meet Government objectives for economic, social and environmental development.

Funding is only paid out on the completion of agreed milestones, and is monitored by the Ministry of Economic Development.


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