Chapter One: Origins of the Book

Chapter One: Origins of the Book

INTRODUCTION
This book has been commissioned and published by ‘Ngā Aho Whakaari, the Association of Māori in Screen Production’ because of its long-term commitment to developing and enhancing the Māori screen industry, as part of a broader agenda for the revitalisation of Māori language, culture and people. This agenda has been part of the Māori landscape for over forty years. A pivotal moment in that landscape occurred in 1972, as remembered by McCaffery (2010):
“On Māori Language Day in 1972, Lee Smith of the Te Reo Māori Society and the late Hana Te Hemara of Auckland activist group Ngā Tamatoa ascended the steps of Parliament to formally submit their then radical petition calling for Māori language to be offered in schools.
‘We, the undersigned, do humbly pray that courses in Māori language and aspects of Māori culture be offered in all those schools with large Māori rolls and that these same courses be offered, as a gift to the Pākehā from the Māori, in all other New Zealand schools as a positive effort to promote a more meaningful concept of Integration’. Petition of the Te Reo Māori Society and Nga Tamatoa to Parliament, 1972”
In recent decades that resurgence of Māori language and culture has come to be known as the Māori Renaissance. A fundamental component of the Māori Renaissance has been the development of the Kaupapa Māori paradigm, most notable in scholarship and education. From the latter has emerged Kura Kaupapa Māori, a Māori education system. The Kaupapa Māori philosophy is underpinned by a set of propositions that contribute to approaches, which nurture and enhance the Māori Renaissance. The principles of Kaupapa Māori that underpin this book have been articulated as:
· Being for, with and by Māori;
· Validating Māori language and culture;
· Empowering Māori people;
· Delivering positive outcomes and empowering Māori.
(Henry, & Wolfgramm, 2012; Smith, 1997)

This book contributes to the Kaupapa Māori literature, being ‘for, with and by Māori’, and provides an introduction to the Māori screen industry. It is a companion volume to ‘Te Urutahi Koataata: Working with Māori in Film and Television’, (2008), written by Brad Haami. It is hoped the reader will draw on this book and Te Urutahi Koataata as the bases for exploring the ways that non-Māori might interact and work with Māori in screen production in mutually beneficial ways.
Understanding the ways that Māori operate and knowing the cultural concerns we have in respect of our portrayal and representation on the screen can better serve and strengthen relationships between Māori and the wider screen industry. One of the key objectives of the book is to discuss and illustrate Māori culture, tikanga Māori, and demonstrate why understanding more about Māori culture and traditions may be useful across the New Zealand screen industry.

NGĀ AHO WHAKAARI
The section provides the reader with an historical overview of Ngā Aho Whakaari, as part of the broader evolution of the Māori screen industry. The vision and mission of Ngā Aho Whakaari are encapsulated in the following strategies, which have underpinned the work of the organisation since its inception:
· Establishing better relationships between the screen industry and Māori
· Improving the depiction and telling of Māori stories
· Developing useful and practical information that will enhance and facilitate screen production involving Māori language, culture and stories
· Providing opportunities to build positive relationships, whether working, communicating or consulting with Māori

In 1996, a group of Māori screen practitioners began meeting to discuss their aspirations and concerns for the Māori screen industry. These meetings occurred at a time of change and upheaval for Māori in both film and television production, underscored by government initiatives at the time. The meetings were informal gatherings of Māori who had known each other for many years, and who shared a similar passion and a vision for Māori screen production.
As a consequence of a number of Hui held in Auckland between June and October 1996, the group chose to setup a formal and legal entity, as they felt it would enable more direct communication with Crown agencies. The name, Ngā Aho Whakaari, meaning the strands of many visions, was given by broadcaster and educator, Waihoroi Shortland (Ngāti Hine), along with the whakataukī (literally meaning ‘proverb’), in this case the mission and vision statement, which is articulated on their website as, ‘E kore te Tōtara e tū noa i te pārae, engari me tū i te wāo’, meaning, ‘The Tōtara tree does not stand alone on the plain, but stands in the forest’.  It is a statement which invokes all members and supporters of Ngā Aho Whakaari to work in unity for the betterment of our people, language, customs and prestige”. Ngā Aho Whakaari was formed with a specific brief, also outlined on its website, as follows: “Ngā Aho Whakaari represents the interests of Māori on all issues that affect the business and creative aspects of the screen industry from film to digital new media.”

In that same year, the then National Government had initiated what was described as a pilot scheme for a Māori television channel, Aotearoa Television Network. Within the Māori screen industry, there were concerns about the contestable process used to setup the network, which pitted the small communities against each other to ‘win’ the right to become the Māori broadcaster. Those concerns increased throughout 1997, as the channel came under increasing government and media scrutiny, amidst allegations of overspending and mismanagement. It was no surprise for some in the Māori community when ATN closed under a cloud of controversy in 1997. Regardless of the reasons for its closure, ATN produced a significant body of Māori programming, and employed and trained a new generation of Māori in television production. It showed that Māori could and should be the drivers of Māori television, and spurred Ngā Aho Whakaari to play a greater role in the further development of Māori television.
However, to best understand the development of Ngā Aho Whakaari, one should explore the wider world of change that Māori in the screen industry were involved in prior to the 1990s. For example, a number of people involved in the setup of Ngā Aho Whakaari had also been a part of Te Manu Aute. This earlier body was a similar gathering of like minds, Māori working in film and television, who first came together in Wellington in the 1980s to organise and support Māori story-telling and story-tellers. However, the initiators of Te Manu Aute were less interested in assuming a legal and formal status. The following comments are drawn from the reminiscences of three of those who were part of Te Manu Aute.

Karen Sidney (Ngāti Kahungunu) started her film career in Northland on a short course organised by Mana Cracknell (Moriori) and Barry Barclay (Ngāti Apa). She went on to work on feature films ‘Ngāti’ (1987), the first film written and directed by Māori, written by Tama Poata (Ngāti Porou) and directed by Barclay; ‘Mauri’ (1988), the first feature film written, directed and produced by a Māori woman, Merata Mita (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāi Te Rangi); and Whale Rider, directed by non-Māori, Niki Caro in 2002, which was adapted from the book by Witi Ihimaera (Te Aitanga a Māhaki). Karen wrote the script for ‘Kahu & Maia’, a short film produced as part of the Ngā Puna TV drama series in 1993, which was awarded the Alanis Obomsawin Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Dreamspeakers Film Festival in 1994. Karen co-produced Aroha with Melissa Wikaire (Ngāti Hine), which was the first TV drama series written and acted entirely in Te Reo. She also wrote the script for the ‘Mataora’ episode of Aroha, starring Rena Owen.  In 2013, she teaches on the Diploma in Video and Electronic Media at North Tec (Whangarei). Karen helped organise the first national Hui for Te Manu Aute in 1986, about which she writes.
“Our core Te Manu Aute group started at Barry Barclay’s, or rather Ann Bud’s house. There was Anne Keating, Tungia Baker, Tama Poata, Eruera Nia, Cherie O’Shea, and Wi Kuki Kaa. Then the first meeting was at Willis Lodge, where Puhi Rangiaho and Tawini Rangihau joined. Then Barry secured some funding from Te Waka Toi Board of Creative New Zealand and we called the inaugural Te Manu Aute Hui in Wairoa in 1986. In those days Jim Booth and Vincent Burke were in the NZ Film Commission, and they were really supportive and came up with funding. I had a paid coordinators role for at least a year – modest but at least it was paid. Willis St was the first main meeting after Barry and Anne Bud’s lounge. Then I organized the first Hui in Wairoa. There were years of Te Manu Aute meetings in Wellington, then the Tamaki Makaurau branch emerged”.

Karen Sidney, personal communication, 2009
Anne Keating (Te Ati Haunui-Paparangi) began her career with TVNZ in Wellington the early 1980s. She went on to start her own production company, Anne Keating Films, producing a wide range of documentaries, many focusing on her people of the Wanganui River. In 2009, Anne co-produced a documentary on the life of Barry Barclay, ‘The Camera on the Shore’. In recent years she is developing programmes to enhance Māori screen production skills through workshops in Wanganui, through her company Te Aio Productions.

“Barry wrote our Kaupapa, ‘For Māori, by Māori, under Māori control and with a Māori perspective’. Using that Kaupapa we lobbied NZFC for funding. David Gascoigne was Chairman at the time and Jim Booth CEO and they were both very supportive of us having more control over Māori funding and Māori perspectives.   I remember a number of NZFC Board meetings where we all trooped in and sat in reception and waited while they made decisions about our funding. Funding was given by the NZFC that enabled us to employ Karen Sidney first and then Joanna Paul. They operated out of an office opposite the New Zealand Film Commission. At the TV Awards in Auckland, Tungia Baker was a presenter, and we were doing the Pōwhiri for the industry conference. Barry and Wi Kuki Kaa presented the Te Manu Aute Kaupapa to the industry at the conference.    We had a meeting on the afternoon prior to the Awards and discussed our strategy for the conference.     It was an interesting time, because we were demanding that Māori be given the funding and that we control the perspective. We knew we needed to train more Māori on the camera and technical side. We were lobbying for funding from the NZFC and TVNZ for the “E Tipu E Rea” Māori drama series. At that Conference, we first met Judith McCann (from Telefilm Canada), who was a guest speaker.  When Jim Booth announced in 1988 he was leaving the NZFC, we knew we needed a strong ally in the role of CEO, so Tungia and I rang Judith and asked her to apply for the position.

Te Manu Aute wanted to set up a separate trust to handle the million dollars we had negotiated from the NZFC and TVNZ for a Māori drama series.    Appointees of the Te Manuka trust were Keri Kaa, Rei Waru, Monita Delamare and Ripeka Evans. “E Tipu, E Rea”, the first Māori television series to be produced under the Te Manu Aute Kaupapa, was born in Wellington, but then moved to Auckland, as Larry Parr was appointed Executive Producer and he was based in Auckland”.

Anne Keating, personal communication, 2009
Interestingly, Judith was successful in gaining the role of CEO of the New Zealand Film Commission. During her tenure (1989-(1994) two Māori feature-films were produced, ‘Te Rua’ (written and directed by Barry Barclay) and ‘Once Were Warriors’ (written by Riwia Brown, and directed by Lee Tamahori, both Ngāti Porou), along with numerous short films and documentaries. Judith was well known for attending Hui and supporting Māori initiatives, including the adoption by the Film Commission of its Māori name, Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga. This willingness to support Māori screen production and attend Hui has been continued by the current CEO, Graeme Mason.

Finally, the organic and inclusive nature of Te Manu Aute is remembered by Henry (2012, p.5):
“One day in 1988, my then boyfriend asked me to pick up his mother from a meeting. I went to a house in Herne Bay, the home of Merata Mita, where I met Barry Barclay and Don Selwyn. I found out they were a group who called themselves Te Manu Aute. They asked if I could take notes, thinking that all university students carried pens and paper, which fortunately I did. Their conversation, the issues that they spoke about, were compelling, and resonated for me, as a Māori, a woman, especially as I was studying sociology and Māori studies, where the truth of my history, the infamy of our nation’s past was peeled back and exposed.”
Te Manu Aute was, in itself, an expression of the wider sense of disenfranchisement and consequent activism that had become more visible throughout the 1970s and 1980s. However, by the 1990s, there was growing recognition amongst the Māori screen community that lobbying and activism was enhanced by a formal, legal organisation that could convey the expertise and capacity of that screen community, particularly in dealings with government agencies. After the inaugural Hui, the incorporated society was registered under the name, Ngā Aho Whakaari, in October 1996, exactly ten years after the first National Hui of Te Manu Aute. The first Executive Board comprised a group of those who had attended these Hui, and who made themselves available to set up a legal entity, create a Trust Deed and Constitution and attend the early meetings, all of which were, and continue to be, entirely voluntary.

First Ngā Aho Whakaari Executive, 1996

Tini resigned from the Chair because of work commitments in 1999, and Larry Parr (Ngāti Raukawa me Muaūpoko, Ngāti Hikitanga) was elected. He remained in the Chair until 2001, when Tainui Stephens (Te Rārawa) was chosen. After Tainui, Paora Maxwell became the Chair, from 2003 until 2005. He was followed by Ngamaru Raerino (Ngāti Awa), from 2005 to 2008. Then, Tearepa Kahi (Ngāti Pāoa, Waikato) held the post from 2008 until 2011. Ella Henry was elected Chair and held the post from 2011 to 2012, when Mika assumed the role. These people represent a wide range of skills and expertise, and are well known in their diverse fields. Each has made an indelible contribution to the ongoing development of Ngā Aho Whakaari. Since 1996, dozens of other Māori, working across all fields of screen production have been elected to the Ngā Aho Whakaari Executive.

One of the pivotal contributions that Ngā Aho Whakaari has made to build the capacity of the Māori screen industry has been through opportunities for Māori practitioners to meet and support each other. Foremost among these gatherings has been the National Hui. The organisation planned its first National Hui in October 1997, at the University of Auckland Marae, Waipapa, and was able to secure funding from the Waka Toi Board of Creative New Zealand.
At the same time renowned indigenous film-makers, Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki, Canada), Arlene Bowman (Dine, USA), and Ngosi Onwurah (Nigerian-Briton), were attending an Indigenous Women’s Film Hui, organised by Leonie Pihama. They presented their work as guests of Merata Mita. Bowman (2011) has commented on her visit to New Zealand, stating, “I attended a gathering in New Zealand where Māori and other Indigenous women filmmakers presented-screened their works, but it was not a film festival. That event was the last time I saw Merata Mita, a Māori filmmaker, one of few Indigenous women who has made a dramatic feature”. Events such as these enabled the Ngā Aho Whakaari community to network with the wider indigenous film-making community.

The National Hui brought together Māori, with national and international guests, to highlight their achievements, develop strategies for the collective good, and share the work of, and with other indigenous peoples. The Hui have occurred in Auckland, Wellington and Rotorua, with the first two in 1997 and 1998 being hosted at Waipapa Marae, at the University of Auckland. In 2001 the Hui was held in Waiwera, north of Auckland, and in 2001 at Ngā Whare Wātea Marae, Mangere. The Marae on Waiheke Island, Piritahi, hosted the 2002 and 2003 Hui. Then in 2004, the Hui was held in Rotorua and in 2005 in Wellington. The National Hui 2008 was held on the AUT Campus, at the same time and place that Māori Television brought together the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (WITBN) and ‘Te Urutahi Koataata’ was launched. In the following year the Hui was hosted by Ngāti Whātua, on Takaparawha Marae, at Orakei, and Merata Mita, recently returned from teaching in Hawaii was a guest speaker.
At the 2010 National Hui, held at AUT Marae, Ngā Wai o Horotiu, Alanis Obomsawin was again a guest, and helped to commemorate the life of Merata Mita, who had died in August of that year. In 2012, the National Hui was once more held at AUT, and Ngā Aho Whakaari partnered with Te Māngai Pāho, who offered an unprecedented sum of $5,000 for a ‘pitching competition’, which saw over thirty proposals being pitched to Commissioners from TVNZ, TV3 and Māori Television. These Hui have provided invaluable opportunities for networking, nationally and internationally, and for mentoring new entrants into the industry.

However, National Hui are only one of the key strategies originally adopted and adhered to ever since. These are:
· Kotahitanga, strength and unity among Māori practitioners
· Networking and social events with Māori and other supportive groups
· Advocacy, providing an effective lobby group representing Māori interests to industry and government
· Professional development and training through seminars, workshops and Hui
· Information and news about industry activity in regular newsletters and communications
· Development of a code of practice for filming te ao Māori me ōna tikanga, Māori people and customs, to protect Māori practitioners, participants and taonga (precious things).

This, the Brown Book, is a further contribution to the last of these strategies.
The development of a robust and professional organisational has also been an important goal. Initially, all roles were voluntary. The Executive Board remains voluntary. Funding was, and continues to be sought from a variety of government and philanthropic entities, primarily to support networking, professional development and information dissemination. Advocacy and lobbying was often done by Executive members, who occupied other roles which gave them access to government agencies, funding bodies and broadcasters.

Since 2002 ongoing funding has been secured for paid administrators. The first holder of this role was Manutai Schuster (Te Arawa), under the Chairmanship of Tainui Stephens. In 2003 Rawiri Ericson took up the role, and between 2004 and 2006 Kelvin McDonald (Te Atiawa, Ngāti Kahungunu) was the (renamed) Executive Officer, under the Chairmanship of Paora Maxwell. Hiona Henare (Muaūpoko, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Hine) was engaged as EO under the Chairmanship of both Paora Maxwell (Te Arawa) and incoming Chair Ngamaru Reirino (Ngāti Awa) between 2006 and 2008. Hiona left to study at South Seas Film and Television School, after which Pita Turei (Ngāti Paoa, Ngai Tai) took up the role. Pita left Ngā Aho Whakaari in 2010, and Kath Akuhata-Brown (Ngāti Porou) became Interim Administrator for a few months, after having spent many years as an Executive member, followed by Hineani Melbourne (Ngai Tūhoe) in 2011. Hineani had also been a long-standing Executive member, and she left to take up a producer role in the Māori Department at TVNZ. Whetu Fala (Ngā Rauru) then assumed the interim role for three months in 2012. In August of that year, Waimihi Hotere (Waikato, Maniapoto), took up the role as Administration Manager. Between 2003 and 2010 an administrator was employed to support the EO. This role was held, first by Tuihana Walters, then Alex George, and finally by Chargn Keenan (Ngāti Porou), after which the role was disestablished. These changing roles and responsibilities have very much been dependent on access to funding, and the strategic intent of successive Executives, who in return have been influenced by the articulated aspirations of the membership.

Being able to draw on the expertise of committed, passionate and strategic Executive members and to employ experienced administrators has meant that Ngā Aho Whakaari has developed enduring and effective strategies, structures and policies, underpinned by a robust and transparent governance entity. Anyone familiar with the New Zealand screen and creative arts industries will know that many of these names are amongst the most senior and experienced, not just in the Māori world, but also in the mainstream screen industry. This has resulted in the birth, growth and development of a screen industry guild that has continually achieved its objectives, listened to and acted upon the needs of its constituency and built the reputation and credibility of, and audience for, our fledgling Māori screen industry.

 

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