Activity: a story development and screen production residency for rangatahi Māori from Aotearoa New Zealand’s Far North region. Participants connect with kaumātua (elders) and experts in local history during a series of marae-based wānanga (seminars) where they explore their cultural narratives while establishing, maintaining and strengthening their sense of belonging. Upon completion of the wānanga participants submit a story idea for consideration to advance to a week-long residency programme at Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Based on factors such as story idea, leadership, commitment, focus and enthusiasm five new filmmaking talents will be selected by an industry panel to advance their projects to the residency programme. Under the guidance of screen industry mentors participants will develop their short films, reimagining local history, to produce a script. Each talent will be funded to produce and deliver a final film. The fundamental outcome of these workshops are to foster new filmmaking talents and inspire the next generation of Māori storytellers to pursue a career in film and media arts.
Outcome: As a result of lockdowns in 2021 Tai Huri pivoted part of the delivery of the programme online. Alongside their media partner, Te Hiku Media, they facilitated a series of livestream discussions around the project with audiences of up to 15K. Participants who progressed through the programme have shown exceptional potential as new storytellers in film and media, with one going on to work as a Cultural Advisor on a new documentary series. “The impact of Tāhuhu Stories has shown that there is scope for this programme to grow in the next year of facilitation. With a national focus on Aotearoa NZ history, New Zealanders are hungry to learn about our past. This is evident in backing by the Ministry of Education, who saw an opportunity to utilise these films as a resource for teachers and students… I wish to thank Screenrights and the Cultural Fund for their vision in supporting grassroots initiatives from outside the main centres.” – Jason Taylor