Ngā Aho Whakaari making sure Māori storytelling is protected

By Stefan Dimitrof

Ngā Aho Whakaari, which means 'strands of many visions', is an organisation whose primary role is to advocate and support Māori, in all forms of screen production.The organisation now has a new executive director, Lanita Ririnui (Tauranga Moana, Ngāpuhi and Kuki Āirani).

Ririnui has played an important role at Māori TV over the last few years, including helping to support film-makers' success in the industry and she's keen to continue advocating for Māori in this new role.

Ririnui said that “as a creative, you’re always advocating for Maori stories, especially your own kaupapa, shifting into commissioning and then it goes from advocating for your kaupapa to many kaupapa and then the move here to Ngā aho Whakaari is advocating for kaupapa and beyond”.

This is where Ririnui looks at many parts of the industry to make sure Māori have a voice and are represented.

Ngā Aho Whakaari not only represents kai mahi and independents that are in the film and television industry but also making sure Māori storytelling is protected with support and development to provide upskilling and workshops with other guilds.

“Māori are magic. Everyone wants someone who is Māori to help collaborate and contribute their kaupapa as well but we have to take care of ourselves, be mindful of where we are and what we are doing.”

Ririnui said it was a real focus for the future, “looking at who is still in the industry, where our people are in the industry and identifying some of the gaps that require our support as a guild to support, develop or sustain their place in this industry to be able to grow to share our amazing stories.

This also included the mana motuhake that surrounded Māori storytelling.