An animated story of New Zealand’s endangered Tūturuatu (Shore Plover) won Christchurch school girl, Tomairangi Harvey, the Best Young Film-maker Award at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival in Tokyo last week.
In the 25 year history of the Japan Wildlife Film Festival, 12-year-old Tomairangi is the youngest ever to have a film selected.
As well writing, directing and animating Te Ao o te Tuturuatu entirely by herself (when she was only eleven), Tomairangi narrated it in te reo Māori.
“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.”
“I like the idea of showing people through film, the world, the truth.
“Te reo Māori is a way for me to show people through my own eyes,” says Tomairangi, who is Moriori, Ngāti Mutunga, Tūhoe and Ngāi Tahu.
“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.”
Tomairangi, who is from New Brighton in Christchurch, travelled to Japan for the festival with her mother and David Jacobs, who is director of The Outlook for Someday.
“Tomairangi’s film is a beautiful expression of Aotearoa New Zealand,” said David Jacobs.
“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.”
The Japan Wildlife Film Festival Festival is the most prestigious festival of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. This year they chose only 48 films to screen in the competition, out of 1853 entries, from 112 countries.
The Outlook for Someday challenges young New Zealanders to make a sustainability-related film. DOC is a partner of the challenge and also sponsors the Big Picture Award.