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  • Film Festival with Live Screenings
About :

POSTPONEMENT: Please note the October 6 to 8 2023 festival has been postponed to 2024. There is no festival taking place this October, due to the ongoing impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The WAIROA MĀORI FILM FESTIVAL is a celebration of Māori and indigenous film held at Kahungunu Marae, Nuhaka, New Zealand, each year.

Founded in 2005, Wairoa Māori Film Festival content is focused on Māori- made and Māori-themed film works, with a diverse international indigenous selection of film works alongside and a particular focus on the Pacific / Polynesia.

Our film festival is like no other. Guests are welcomed in a traditional Māori powhiri welcoming ceremony, and can stay at the marae (in the cinema!) or at nearby Morere mineral springs, Mahia beach, or Wairoa township.

Wairoa is also renowned for the Rocket Lab space station at nearby Mahia - since 2017 you can view rocket launches from our marae!

Master-carved Kahungunu Marae is a traditional Māori meeting house and is famed for featuring in BROKEN BARRIER directed by John O'Shea in the 1950s, with people from Nuhaka and Mahia acting and performing in the film.

We pride ourselves on a laid-back and relaxed energy, a spiritual nourishment both on screen and off. We have a reputation for rich and sincere narratives presented in a gentle and healing marae space. We give voice to the radical, on screen presence to the activist, our audiences feel and resonate with the film makers message.

We are also a collaborative space where film makers and creatives can connect; short film, documentary and feature dramatic projects have developed over a cup of tea in our marae, with some of these new works screening at our festival upon their completion.

Apart from the main festival in Wairoa, we curate films nationally and internationally. After our home festival, we take Māori films across New Zealand under the banner of Kia Ora Shorts, and curate the Nga Whanaunga Māori Pasifika programme of the NZ International Film Festival (see below).

In 2018, we launched He Wiki Kiriata Māori - Māori Film Week with a full week of film and arts in the centre of Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau!


The Wairoa Māori Film Festival generally encourages entries from Māori, Pasifika and indigenous-identified film makers from around the world. The focus on our programme is Māori film, being dramatic and documentary works about the Māori people of Aotearoa New Zealand. We also present a programme of Pasifika films, dramatic and documentary works about peoples of the Pacific who are "whanaunga" (related by blood, ancestry and tradition) to the Māori people of New Zealand.

Our international indigenous programme is diverse and covers many cultures, many worlds, many lives - we encourage entry by all to the international indigenous category, however space in our weekend-long film programme is limited; more so for international works.

The nature of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival is a celebration of Māori film. We accept film works by Māori, for Māori and about Māori; Māori on film, Māori in film, Māori making film. In particular, we want to profile Māori directors, Māori producers and Māori scriptwriters. Where the lead creatives for a Māori film are Non-Māori, then some evidential basis of Māori consultation or involvement of a Māori Advisor to the production is required. See: Brown Book: Māori Protocols Document. We want to see authentic stories that can engage Māori and indigenous audiences as well as appeal to mainstream cinema goers.

As a festival of Māori, Pasifika and indigenous film, we are interested in film works that advance native film making and the progression of a "Fourth Cinema" canon. The Wairoa Māori Film Festival is part of a growing international network of indigenous film festivals that seek to both nurture and grow their native film making communities, and build global native audiences for indigenous storytelling on screen.

Our ongoing commitment to the growth and development of Māori film making is representative in the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, our nation's founding document and a genuine cultural partnership that has resulted in a cultural renaissance and language revitalisation in Māoridom.

For technical considerations and terms and conditions of entry to our festival, please see:


The Wairoa Māori Film Festival has an agreement with the NZ International Film Festival (NZIFF), whereby we oversee curation of the Nga Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Short Film Programme each year.

As part of this relationship, short film makers may enter their short film to screen at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival with this entry still being eligible for selection to NZIFF.

Wairoa Māori Film Festival therefore encourages Māori/Pasifika short film makers who are entering short film works into our festival to also enter their film into NZIFF and the Nga Whanaunga selection category:

Curation of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival programme and the NZIFF Nga Whanaunga programme are independent, and selection into one programme does not indicate or guarantee selection into the other festival. Curation of NZIFF Nga Whanaunga is assisted by Craig Fasi of Pollywood Film Festival.


Celebrating Fourth Cinema by Barry Barclay (Illusions Magazine 2003)
Alanis Obomsawin: The Vision of a Native Filmmaker by Randolph Lewis (2006: University of Nebraska Press)
Images of Dignity: Barry Barclay and 4th Cinema, by Stuart Murray 2008.
Brown Book: Māori Protocols Document, Ngā Aho Whakaari, 2014.

Awards & Prizes:

SHORT FILMS (NZ & International):
Whenua Award: Maori Short Film Prize (Jury Prize)
Whenua Award: Best Actor, Aotearoa Short Film (Māori)
Whenua Award: Best Actress, Aotearoa Short Film (Māori)
Whenua Award: Te Reo Māori (Best Te Reo Maori Short Film - Māori)
Moana Jury Award: Pasifika Short Film Prize (Jury Prize)
Audience Award - Aotearoa Short Film (Māori)
International Indigenous Short Film Prize (Jury Prize)

International Indigenous Entry Prize (Feature Documentary/Drama)
Mana Wairoa Prize - For Advancement of Indigenous Rights (Feature Documentary/Drama)

Rules & Terms:

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