He Taonga Films Ltd - production company
He Taonga Films arose out of a film and television training course called He Taonga I Tawhiti (Gifts From Afar) operated from 1984 to 1990 by Don Selwyn. It was established under the
wing of the then Department of Maori Affairs Tu Tangata programme. Its aim was to give Maori and Pacific people the technical skills to enable them to tell their own stories. Many of the120 people who went through
the course over its six-year existence are successfully established in the industry today.
In 1992, Selwyn and producer Ruth Kaupua Panapa formed He Taonga Films to create job opportunities for course
graduates and to provide options for Maori drama writers.
He Taonga produces drama for television and cinema in Maori, English and bi-lingual. The company selects its crews on a racially-inclusive basis,
depending on skill, personality and the individualís ability to work to the kaupapa or philosophy of the production. For example, the crew of The Maori Merchant of Venice included Maori, Pacific Islanders, Pakeha,
Croatian, Sri Lankan, Australian, English and Scottish.
He Taonga Films Production Record and Awards
Maori language drama:
The Maori Merchant of Venice (2001)
Maaui Pootiki (2000)
Te Ohake a Nihe (1998)
English language and bi-lingual drama:
Donít Go Past With Your Nose in the Air (1989) best foreign short film 1992 New York
Nga Puna series:
Kahu & Maia (1993) - best drama 1994 Dreamspeakers Festival
Small Town Blues - drama director/best film 1998 Dreamspeakers
A Day in the Life (1996) - short film & performance in a short film1996 Dreamspeakers
Talk of the Town (1996) Ė best drama 1996 Dreamspeakers Festival
Feathers of Peace (1999) - New Zealand Media Peace Award 2000
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