Ramai Hayward Scholarship heralds our new year

Success for Wāhine Māori in Film

Matariki tāpuapua, Matariki ahunganui. I te rewanga o te mātahi o te tau, kua mahuta hoki he kura mō te ao kiriata Māori.

Ngā Aho Whakaari board are elated by the announcement of this years’ recipients of the Ramai Hayward, New Zealand Film Commission, Wāhine Māori Directors’ Scholarship. This award is to develop two Māori Women Directors, Briar Grace Smith of Ngāpuhi me Ngāti Wai and Rachel House of Ngāti Mutunga and Ngai Tahu. As dual recipients of this year’s scholarship, both will receive $50,000 each.

The aim of this scholarship is to support wāhine Māori first time feature film directors to progress their projects to a market-ready state, and assist with securing a producer and production finance in the future.

According to Ngā Aho Whakaari Chair, Christina Asher, ‘This is a hugely significant success for wāhine Māori in film, to assist not one but two of our best current wāhine film directors to gain further development to direct their first feature film,

The last Māori woman feature film director was the late Merata Mita o Ngāti Pikiao me Ngāti Whakahemo. She accomplished her dream directing ‘Mauri’ in 1988. In doing so she carried the dreams and aspirations of many of us Māori women in the film industry.

After thirty years we can realise that dream again. It’s been a very long time coming and we acknowledge the willingness of The New Zealand Film Commission Board, The Chief Executive Dave Gibson and the Talent Development & Development and Production Teams to bring this kaupapa to fruition.

Briar Grace Smith and Rachel House will be following in the footsteps of both Merata and well-known pioneering filmmaker, Ramai Hayward o Ngai Tahu me Ngāti Kahungunu. They will ensure wāhine Māori voices and narratives are being recognised in the feature film industry.

We of Nga Aho Whakaari are pleased to be associated with this amazing achievement and very proud of all our wahine toa who applied.

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