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"Don't cry for me, Waititi" says Pita Sharples

Dr Pita Sharples,
Arts, Culture and Heritage Spokesperson for the Maori Party

"Te Whanau-a-Apanui are doing 'ok'" says Pita Sharples.

Thursday 25 January 2007

The talents of Te Whanau-a-Apanui are taking over the world" said Dr Pita Sharples today, referring to the whirlwind success of Taika Waititi, writer, actor and film director.

Waititi has today been named as one of ten new international talents to watch in influential USA entertainment magazine, Variety. This follows hot on the heels of Waititi's premiere performance at the Sundance Film Festival, for his comedy feature, 'Eagle vs Shark'.

"It hasn't escaped my notice that one of the two producers for Eagle vs Shark, Ainsley Gardiner, also holds Whanau-a-Apanui whakapapa" said Dr Sharples.

"My colleague, Te Ururoa Flavell, was also quick to remind me that the other producer of Eagle vs Shark, Cliff Curtis, is of Ngati Pikiao of Te Arawa descent".

"I've had Whanau-a-Apanui in my mind of course as we approach the 2007 Matatini, national kapa haka competitions" said Pita Sharples, long-standing performer, composer, choreographer and leader of Te Roopu Manutaki Maori cultural group.

Dr Sharples will be again taking to the stage in the Matatini Festival next month, as he has for well over thirty years before.

"I'm sure there'll be a bit of the old 'Eagle vs Shark' edge added to Matatini between many of the roopu on the stage" laughed Dr Sharples.

"All joking aside, it's incredible news for Maori film-making, that Taika Waititi is yet again, being recognised on the global stage".

"Last year he was nominated for an Oscar for his brilliant short film, 'Two Cars, One night' said Dr Sharples.

"He then went on with Tama Tu to win the * Short Film Competition in the Stockholm International Film Festival; * the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival; * the Coopers Award for the Best Film (Flickerfest 2006); * the Jury Award for the Aspen Shortsfest 2005, and * a Special Jury Prize honourable mention both in the Panorama Berlin International film Festival 2005 and the 2005 Sundance Film Festival" said Dr Sharples.

"This is a young Maori man going places" said Dr Sharples "and I don't just mean beyond the boundaries of Raukokore. He is also a talented painter, photographer and a comedian of great repute".

"It is of course an amazing honour for Te Whanau a Apanui and the East Coast - but the phenomenal success of Waititi is a success that all tangata whenua - and indeed all New Zealanders - can be proud of, in taking our talents to the world".


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