Whetu Fala wins 2019 WIFT NZ Mana Wahine award

Posted Tuesday 14 May 2019

We're thrilled to announce that Whetu Fala is the very worthy recipient of the 2019 WIFT NZ Mana W?hine Award! Whetu is Ng? Rauru, Ng?ti Maniapoto, Ng?ti Maru ki Taranaki, Samoa, Rotuma. Her award will be presented at the Wairoa M?ori Film Festival Gala Awards dinner on Saturday 1 June. Click here to see the Wairoa M?ori Film Festival programme.

Here's a little about why Whetu is this year's WIFT NZ Mana W?hine Award recipient:
Whetu Fala is an entrepreneur and creative, infused with te wairua auaha, the creative spirit. She has owned Fala Media for over twenty years. Whetu has produced, directed and edited hundreds of hours of television, including drama, documentaries, reality series and short films since starting at TVNZ in 1988.
Whetu has a background in theatre as an actor. Her work includes a Young M?ori in Performance season at the Sydney Opera House, and her own theatre company, He Oriori mo ng? Tamariki, toured to Storytellers International, Alburqerque, New Mexico. She has graced the screen in numerous films and television series, and is a founding member of Taki Rua Theatre, Te Manu Aute M?ori in Film, Women in Film & Television Wellington, Ng? Aho Whakaari M?ori Screen Guild, and Pacific Islanders in Film & Television A?tearoa.
In 2016 Whetu was appointed to the Board of M?ori Television. She also sits on the Boards of Ng? Taonga Sound and Vision and Te Puna Ataata (the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust). Most recently she has returned to her home town of Whanganui to take on the position of Manager for Awa FM, promoting the stories and language cadence of the Whanganui River region to the world.
As an aside, she was one of the case studies in a PhD documentary, entitled 'Emancipatory M?ori entrepreneurship in screen production' (Henry, 2012), where she said, "I would say to other M?ori and Pacifica, mahia te mahi, you are what you do, not what you say you do", and that is exactly what Whetu has been doing for over thirty years, mentoring, coaching, supporting, guiding, collaborating, creating, bursting through glass ceilings, and doing it all with a joy for life, a sharp intellect, an acerbic sense of humour, and a great love of people, which is a privilege to behold. She encapsulates everything that is Mana W?hine."
- WIFT NZ, with thanks to Ella Henry.

"Whetu Fala is a tireless advocate for both Maori and Pasifika film making, and has been so for many many decades. An award to Whetu is a cause for reflection to the early days of Maori film, radio and television, as Whetu was there from the beginning (she starred in "Te Rua" by Barry Barclay back in 1991). Whetu is of Ng? Rauru, Ng?ti Maniapoto, Ng?ti Maru ki Taranaki, Samoa, and Rotuma descent. An award to Whetu is a cause for celebration for both M?oridom and Pasifika communities, to in particular celebrate the unique place Whetu has had weaving her diverse communities together."
- Leo Koziol, Festival Director, Wairoa M?ori Film Festival

Next Up...

Wifters win funding for voyage stories

Posted Tuesday 14 May 2019

And three more cheers for these Wifters who have received funding in the latest NZ On Air round. Anna Marbrook Productions receives up to $180,000 for Loimata - Sweet Tears for for M?ori Television, the story of traditional waka builder and ocean captain Ema Siope who in the final months of her life seeks to heal her family from systemic abuse that has thwarted their half century of migration. And Nia Phipps receives up to $139,452 for After White Guilt, a 7-part web-series for the NZ Herald, telling the stories of New Zealanders who are reflecting on their colonial heritage, and how to take action against racism in Aotearoa.

NZOA received 11 applications in its May funding round in response to a special request for proposals to mark Tuia 250, a national commemoration acknowledging 250 years since the first sustained onshore meetings between M?ori and Europeans.

The other projects to win funding are:

Pango Productions which receives up to $591,195 for Tuia 250 Live, a live broadcast for TVNZ 1 and M?ori Television of the Tuia 250 ki T?ranga Festival, presented by John Campbell and Stacey Morrison.

Tawera Productions which receives up to $157,600 for Waka, for E-Tangata and NZ Herald. Four master carvers build four waka of their traditional style to welcome the Tuia 250 Flotilla when they arrive at Waitangi, our nation's birthplace.

And Re: discovering Aotearoa, which receives up to $78,025 for its multimedia series for Re: and TVNZ, looking at how modern relationships mirror our nation's first meeting of cultures and what we can learn from that for our shared future.