New Zealand is fast becoming the Hollywood of the South Pacific, having provided the beautiful backdrop for blockbuster after blockbuster. But beyond the cinematic vistas, the country is home to a robust group of indigenous filmmakers, actors, and producers, who are beginning to tell more of their own stories.

One of those is  film archivist-turned-director Heperi Mita. His debut documentary “Merata” explores the life and legacy of his mother, Merata Mita, one of the country’s most notable filmmakers credited with pushing indigenous stories the forefront of New Zealand Cinema.

Like Merata, Kerry Warkia, who runs the production company Brown Sugar Apple Grunt, has made it her mission to give screen time to New Zealand women, particularly those from Maori and Polynesian society.

Maori actress, Rachel House, who voiced the character of Gramma Tala in the 2016 Disney animated film “ Moana”, also helped with the creation, casting and cultural direction of the Maori-language version.

Mita, House, and Warkia are among a group of industry leaders taking part in the New Zealand Film Commission’s Power of Inclusion summit this week in Aotearoa. The program’s mission is to push for a new industry standard when it comes to representation and inclusion. All three join this episode of The Stream to discuss how Kiwi film and tv is rising and thriving. 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Heperi Mita, @decolonisthesc1

Kerry Warkia, @kerrywarkia

Rachel House

Read more: 
Why New Zealand filmmakers are telling more of their own stories - The Hollywood Reporter
A Maori filmmaker and the fight for proper indigenous narratives - High Country news 

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