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New Zealand International Film Festival Announces Its Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts Finalists

Six short films from Aotearoa and the Pacific have been selected by curators Leo Koziol (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rakaipaaka), Director of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival, and Craig Fasi (Niue), Director of the Pollywood Film Festival and will screen during NZIFF in all festival locations.

The selected shorts this year are: A Morning with Aroha (dir: Nicholas Riini), Burning of the Gods (dir: Karin Williams), Perfect Storm (dir: Morag Brownlie), Raids (dir: Jade Jackson), Smog (dir: Alex Liu), and The Difference Between Pipi & Pūpū (dir: Tajim Mohammed-Kapa).

Curator Leo Koziol says, “Every year the Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika collection of short films showcases both emerging talent and those at the top of their game working towards a first feature. This year is no exception, with filmmakers of New Zealand Māori, Tongan, Samoan and Cook Island origins. We are excited to present this year’s collection, diverse in genre – drama, thriller, sci-fi, experimental – and diverse in viewpoint. Mauri Ora!”

All finalists will be eligible for the Wellington UNESCO City of Film award for Best Film ($3000 cash prize), as judged by a jury. This award will be presented at the final Wellington screening of Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts on Saturday 13 August at The Roxy Cinema. Audience members at Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Whanganui-a-Tara screenings will vote for their favourite short to win the Letterboxd Audience Award, a cash prize of $1000, and this will be announced at the Closing Night of NZIFF in Wellington.

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Curator comments on each film appear in italics, and films are listed in the order that they will screen.

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts Finalists 2022:

Perfect Storm

Director & Producer: Morag Brownlie, Producer: Pita Turei

Walking into the unknown during the perfect storm of the Covid-19 pandemic, the beauty of nature and connectivity of humanity endures.

“A landscape lullaby evokes union between people, land, sea and sky.” — CF


Director & Screenplay: Alex Liu

Producer: Ben van de Laar

In a world blanketed in thick, deadly smog, a woman attempts to leave her abusive relationship behind.

“The environment and tormentor imprisons, escape is the greater of two evils.” — CF


Director & Producer: Jade Jackson

Based on the treatment of Pacific Island families during the New Zealand Dawn Raids of the 1970’s, this short is an intimate look into a police raid, as told through the eyes of a young girl Losa and her father Lupematasila.

“We remember the days, the 1970s raids, in hope they will not return.” — CF

Burning of the Gods

Director: Karin Williams

Producer: Sharlene George

With his island at risk from industrial tourism and environmental degradation, a boy travels back in time to reconnect with his ancestors.

“A return to Gods of long ago, cryptic in beauty and honest in perspective.” — CF

A Morning with Aroha

Director, Screenplay & Producer: Nicholas Riini

Additional Producer: Diana Baynton

A bullied young girl finds her creative outlet and with a little bit of magic brings her imaginary world to life.

“A delight from start to finish, the world of Aroha blossoms for all to see.” — LK

The Difference Between Pipi & Pūpū

Director: Tajim Mohammed-Kapa

Producer: Angela Cudd

Called to his father’s deathbed, an estranged son must find the courage to resolve the conflict between him and his father before it’s too late.

“Sometimes farewell means forgiveness, but the journey is arduous.” — LK

For more information on this year’s Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts selection, clickhere.

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