The discussion around who gets to tell a story – in this instance a Māori story and how to go about it correctly – was presented by Hineani Melbourne (Former Executive Director of NAW, Producer, Researcher, Writer, Film-maker) at the Screen Edge symposium held in Auckland.  Her session –  Kōrero Pono began with a reference to Barry Barclay, a film-maker and longtime campaigner for the right of indigenous people to tell their own stories to their own people. Barry had a strict only Māori should tell Māori policy.  

Film is a powerful medium and once a story is told it is difficult to untell. If you receive funding through Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga you will need to ensure the director and at least one of your key creatives is Māori, plus more robust systems are in place now to ensure authenticity and quality, so that’s a good start.  

Our advice for those who think they have the right to tell this particular (Māori) story/viewpoint – an important question to ask yourself – start from an informed position, make connections, find someone appropriate to guide you, allow time to do things properly, a lot of time. Don’t have important conversations over email – kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) is how it should be done.

Take a look at the picture above – it’s a good place to start. 

With the explosion of platforms and the insatiable appetite for content, we are genuinely concerned about misrepresentation and our only hope is to continue to kōrero with each other.

If you are in any doubt you can contact us at the office.