Wairoa Māori Film Festival organiser ecstatic to be back celebrating film

By Stefan Dimitrof

It's that time of year, when Aotearoa celebrates the best of Māori and indigenous films, at the annual Wairoa Māori film festival, which is held during Queens Birthday weekend, at the beginning of June.

Now, film festivals all around the world, impacted by Covid in the last three years, are returning to some kind of normality.

Wairoa festival founder and director Leo Koziol is ecstatic to be up and running again as it celebrates its 17th year after starting in 2005 in the small town.

The festival celebrates indigenous filmmaking from across the rohe and around the world.

This year there are Māori films and short film that are being celebrated as well as a few international films that will be playing at the festival.

“We always see in a number of years ahead these film-makers stepping ahead and making feature films,” Koziol said.

Koziol said that since the pandemic access to watching all of the international film festivals had become easier as top festivals such as Sundance and Cairns were streamed online.

Not only is Koziol hosting the festival in the cinema but also at the Kahungunu Marae in Nuhaka, “so our marae has gone through a restoration planning programme, which will be launching its website that will be an art gallery and film screening venue.”