When Tomairangi Harvey produced her film about the endangered Tuturuatu (Shore Plover/Dotterel) and its habitat and survival in New Zealand, she never dreamed it would make it to the shores of Tokyo.
Her short film Te Ao o te Tuturuatu was the winner of the prestigious Best Young Film-maker Award.
The festival, in its 25th year, is the most prestigious of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. This year, out of nearly 2000 entries, 48 films were selected from 112 countries – with Tomairangi being the youngest film-maker to ever be included in the festival.
The film, which was written, directed and animated by the prodigious student, was also narrated in te reo Maori.
“The sympathy, deep feeling and love that 11 year old Maori girl Tomairangi Harvey feels for the shore dotterel overflows from her animated film and was clearly conveyed to us,” said the festival judges.
“With thousands of years of protecting and living with nature behind them, the Maori people truly have traditions and a history to be proud of. Please keep sending your wonderful messages to the world.”
The film, which was originally produced for New Zealand’s sustainability film challenge for young people, The Outlook for Someday – won the Whakatipuranga Award in 2014.
Tomairangi, who lives in Brighton in Christchurch said the whole experience was more than surreal.
“Being nominated for the festival didn’t seem real. Then winning an award was scary and exciting. It was scary being in a strange place and having to get up in front of everyone but exciting to get lots of people saying how much they liked what I did.”
“I like the idea of showing people through film, the world, the truth,” said Tomairangi. “Te reo Maori is a way for me to show people through my own eyes.”
Tomairangi’s film is a beautiful expression of Aotearoa New Zealand,” said David Jacobs, director of The Outlook for Someday. “It is a film with great soul. It speaks authentically of our people and our land and in the language that we are working to regrow.”