Women in Film & Television (WIFT) NZ and the Wairoa Māori Film Festival Inc. are delighted to announce the 2017 WIFT NZ Mana Wahine Award recipient is one of New Zealand’s most committed and passionate advocates for our Māori and wider New Zealand screen industry – Christina Asher.

The award will be presented at the Wairoa Māori Film Awards at the iconic Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa, on Saturday June 3.

Christina Asher (Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngā Rauru, Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi, Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Rangiwewehi) is a previous Board member of WIFT, current Chair of Ngā Aho Whakaari, and was part of the Te Manu Aute collective of Māori film-makers that preceded Ngā Aho Whakaari in the 1980s. Alongside her selfless contribution to the development of the screen industry for women and Māori over the last 30 years, through these organisations and her mentoring of individuals Christina has been involved in many aspects of film and television production for more than 40 years.

Starting on television as a dancer, Christina has acted in, choreographed, produced and directed short films and documentaries, and worked as an international casting director (most recently on worldwide box office hit Moana). She is a staunch supporter of emerging Māori screen talent. Christina directed her first documentary in 1993 as part of the first Indigenous International co-production television series From Spirit to Spirit; her most recent – What Are We Going To Do About Mum? – in 2016 for the Pakipumeka documentary series on Māori Television.

Christina has been, and will continue to be a bold, bright and beautiful advocate and supporter of Māori and women in film and television.


The WIFT Mana Wāhine Award recognises and supports the achievements of Māori women in film and television who work tirelessly, diligently and with vision to support and promote Māori culture, Te Reo Māori, Tikanga Māori and the welfare and stories of wāhine. The Award was first initiated in 2011 by Wairoa Māori Film Festival director Leo Koziol and his mother Huia Koziol.


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