Posted Friday 13 May 2016

In 2016, Wairoa M?ori Film Festival and Women in Film & Television (NZ) Inc. will be conferring the WIFT Mana W?hine Award on two recipients, who have extensive careers in film, theatre and television, who are both trail-blazers as M?ori women writers, actors and directors, and who have worked tirelessly for decades to support and nurture other M?ori in film and television.

The awards will be presented at the Wairoa Maori Film Awards Gala Evening at the iconic Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa, on Saturday 4 June.

The WIFT NZ MANA WAHINE AWARDS FOR 2016 are jointly awarded to Nancy Brunning and Rachel House for their prolific contribution to theatre and film, both in front of and behind the camera.  Rachel and Nancy exemplify what it means to be Mana W?hine and the committee strongly felt that both women needed to be awarded with this honour to acknowledge the long and very active contribution both have made to the burgeoning industry.  In a year where female participation in film is looked at with scrutiny, Nancy and Rachel give stand out lead performances in two of the year's most successful films and that on its own deserves celebration.


Rachel House: Rachel has acted in some of New Zealand's most critically and commercially successful films, including Whale Rider, Eagle vs Shark, Boy, White Lies, Dark Horse and this year, a starring role in 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople'.

Graduating from Toi Whakaari in 1992, House won the Chapman Tripp Most Promising Female Newcomer of the Year Award for her performance in the one-woman show Nga Pou Wahine in 1995. In 2002 she won Most Outstanding Performance for critically acclaimed Woman Far Walking and in 2003 Best Supporting Actress in An Enemy of the People. House has directed several theatrical performances, winning the 2001 Director of the Year awards at both the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards and the New Zealand Listener Awards for her direction of the play Have Car Will Travel. In 2012 House directed the M?ori-language version of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, performed at London's Globe Theatre. House attended the Prague Film School, 2007-2008. Her film-directing debut short, The Winter Boy, screened in New Zealand and other international film festivals. In 2012, House was made a NZ Art's Laureate.


Nancy Brunning: Nancy has an extensive career acting in film, theatre and television, as a director for stage and screen, and acting coach, for Oscar-nominated short film 'Two Cars One Night'.

Nancy graduated from Toi Whakaari in 1991 and in 1992 she won the award for Most Promising Female Actor at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for the play Ng? Wahine. She also became one of the best-known faces on New Zealand television in the role of Nurse Jaki Manu in 'Shortland Street'. Nancy has performed in diverse productions, from the play Hide n' Seek, which toured New Zealand and Australia, to the 'Once Were Warriors' sequel, 'What becomes of the broken hearted'.  A speaker of Te Reo M?ori, Brunning has also worked as a theatre director, cultural advisor and script consultant. She received a Best Actress nomination at the 2009 Qantas Film & TV Awards for her role in the movie Strength of Water. In 2008 Brunning directed the short film 'Journey to Ihipa', which screened at film festivals in New Zealand, Vladivostok and New York. This year, Nancy played a leading role in the Lee Tamahori directed film 'Mahana'.


The WIFT Mana W?hine Award recognises and supports the achievements of M?ori Women in film and television who work tirelessly, diligently and with vision to support and promote M?ori culture, Te Reo M?ori, Tikanga M?ori and the welfare and stories of w?hine. The Award was first initiated in 2011 by Wairoa M?ori Film Festival director Leo Koziol and his mother Huia Koziol.

Tickets for the Awards Gala and Film Festival can be booked at Eventfinder


The Wairoa M?ori Film Festival screenings are held in Kahungunu Marae, Nuhaka, famed for featuring in scenes from John O'Shea's BROKEN BARRIER in 1955, and at the reopened Gaiety Theatre in Wairoa. The Wairoa M?ori Film Festival is sponsored by the New Zealand Film Commission, Te Matarae O Te Wairoa Trust and Wairoa District Council. The entire programme can be viewed online at www.kiaora.tv

About the Festival

"The Wairoa Maori Film Festival is a film festival like no other! Guests are welcomed in a traditional Maori powhiri welcoming ceremony, and can stay at the marae (in the cinema!) or at nearby Morere mineral springs, Mahia beach, or Wairoa township. The Festival prides itself on a laid-back and relaxed energy, a spiritual nourishment both on screen and off. It has a reputation for rich and sincere narratives presented in a gentle and healing marae space. It is also a collaborative space where film makers and creatives can connect; short film, documentary and feature dramatic projects have developed over a cup of tea in the marae, and some of these new works will be screening for the first time this year, at the 11th anniversary gathering.

On Saturday there will be a special Matariki Film Awards Gala evening, preceded by a first-ever screening of "Ukaipo Whenua" by Kararaina Rangihau (a local Tuhoe Waikaremoana film maker).

The Matariki Film Awards Gala is once again the centerpiece, with presentation of the WIFT Mana Wahine Award, keynote speaker Dr. Rangimarie Rose Pere, live musical performances by Melody McKiver from Canada, and a curated media art projection!"

For further information please contact Patricia Watson, National Manager of WIFT NZ on 09 373 4071 or patricia@wiftnz.org.nz