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NZ Update #11.1– The Women Who Do It

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This is the first of two posts about gender equity in the allocation of Aotearoa New Zealand (AotearoaNZ)’s taxpayer funds to screen-based fictions. After eleven years of learning from many others engaged with this issue, here and around the world, I argue that the agencies responsible for investing taxpayer funds must acknowledge that women writers’ and directors’ low participation in feature filmmaking and television drama is due to systemic and enduring advantages for men who write and direct; and that it is not women’s ‘fault’Because of their systemic flaws, the agencies concerned should complement their collection and use of  diversity data with comprehensive gender equity policies and best practices, instead of urging women to enter their pipelines in larger numbers and providing piecemeal programmes designed to upskill’ women. 

I propose that new gender equity policies and practices formally recognise that many diverse and skilled AotearoaNZ women writers and directors a…

Filmmaker Libby Hakaraia & Māoriland

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Libby Hakaraia is extraordinary, as a maker of film and television and a visionary change maker. I loved hearing Libby on a Media Take panel last year, and have often felt that Māori women's voices are not often enough heard at industry events. So I was delighted that she agreed to answer some questions.

Based in Ōtaki, just north of Wellington, Libby and her life-and-work partner Tainui Stephens established the Māoriland Film Festival in 2014. It's held each March to celebrate 'the vibrant and diverse perspectives of Indigenous peoples from around the globe', with films from all over the world that are 'as diverse as the people – from comedies to drama to documentary'.



And it's a great festival for anyone who wants to watch films made by women. Last year I spent a full day doing just that and it was so good. This year, 60% of the films screened had women directors, a fantastic benchmark for other festivals.

Māoriland is much more than a week-long annual e…