Issue date: 
Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Four wāhine Māori drama producers and one Takatāpui have been announced as this year’s New Zealand Film Commission 2022 Gender Scholarship recipients. Under the patronage of Producers Ainsley Gardiner and Desray Armstrong, five grants have been awarded.

Two $15,000 scholarship awards to producers:

  • Angela Cudd
  • Nicole Horan

And three special recognition awards to producers:

  • Jaimee Poipoi
  • Ruby Reihana-Wilson and
  • Peata Melbourne

In addition to the grants each will receive mentoring support in consultation with the two Patrons.

Patrons Ainsley Gardiner and Desray Armstrong said, “The standard of applicants was high, and the range was broad, and we felt we could support each and every wāhine applicant on their journey.”

Ainsley and Desray will also run a two-day hui later in 2022 with all applicants to form a roopu and encourage all the producers who applied.

“In order to offer mentorship to all the applicants and to build a new cohort of support amongst applicants we will hold a hui to whakawhanaungatanga, discuss projects, goals and plans, and just generally honour the mahi being done by each and every one of these outstanding wāhine Māori” said Ainsley and Desray.

NZFC acting CEO Mladen Ivancic said, “Producers are an essential part of growing a sustainable industry and we don’t have enough Māori producers particularly in drama. It’s terrific to see fourteen new and emerging wāhine Māori producers coming forward for this initiative and being inspired by Desray and Ainsley’s success. The NZFC's Te Rautaki Māori and Talent Development teams will be working with all the applicants to find ways we can support their development.” 

The scholarships will allow each of the recipients’ time to concentrate on collaborating and developing content and building industry connections to assist with developing sustainable careers.

Since 2015, the NZFC has awarded an annual scholarship to women filmmakers in areas of the industry where their participation has historically been low.  Past scholarships have been awarded to women cinematographers, directors, wāhine Māori directors, Pacific Island screen writers and female comedy creators.

Bios of successful applicants

Angela Cudd (Ngāti Porou, Te-Whānau-Ā-Apanui, Ngātiwai)
With successive production roles on New Zealand feature films The Breaker Upperers, Cousins, and Muru, in 2017 Angela made her producing debut with the bilingual and fluent te reo content I am Waru and Pōtae Pai. Producing the award-winning comedy TV series Sextortion for TVNZ and Good Grief series 1 & 2 for IFC and Sundance most recently as co-producer  of the Aotearoa, Australia coproduction anthology feature We Are Still Here with which premiered at Sydney film festival in 2022 to critical acclaim. She is coproducing NZFC funded Catalyst short film drama Flagfall.  Angela aims to explore dynamic issues while also highlighting the multi-faceted nature of indigenous people with content that challenges stereotypes and contributes to the revitalization of the Māori language.

Nicole Horan (Ngāti Maniapoto) 
Nicole has been at the forefront of Māori programming for over a decade and an advocate for diversity, New Zealand stories and Te Reo Māori me ngā tikanga for all audiences. Responsible for Te Reo Māori inclusion in some of New Zealandʼs most watched shows, including ratings hit, Celebrity Treasure Island S1 (TVNZ2), All or Nothing: The New Zealand All Blacks (Amazon Prime), The Walkers (TVNZ2). Highly experienced in observational documentary and Entertainment, Nicole has shifted her focus to scripted drama, over the last year credits include, The Panthers (TVNZ1), Black Sea Golden Ladder: The Visual Album (Digital Release) and Far North (Discovery). She currently has a Young Adult drama series in development. Nicole has a burning desire to create spaces for Māori story sovereignty.    

Jaimee Poipoi (Ngati Kahungunu, Nga Puhi)
Jaimee has a broad background with numerous production roles on both international tent pole films like Avatar and local series such as SIS. As a director and producer, Jaimee’s films have screened at national and international festivals. Most recently she produced independent short film Woman in Blue, Toi Whakaari short film Krystal and is in final post with NZFC funded short Hey, Brainy Man scheduled for released 2022. She recently completed the Māori, Asian Pacific (MAP) Emerging Producer Programme and is currently the recipient of The Write Room Wellington Emerging Producer Internship mentored by Vicky Pope, Rob Sarkies and Briar Grace-Smith. Jaimee has script development funding for TV series Sh!tshow with NZOA and How to Vanquish Kehua, with Te Māngai Pāho. She has NZOA funding for online series ConspiraSeries and RNZ funding for podcast The Art of Entertaining.  Naturally drawn to unique stories, Jaimee aims to use her wide range of skills to create content with a focus on diverse stories through a Māori/Pasifika lens.

Ruby Reihana-Wilson  [Takatāpui] (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngai Tuteauru) 
Originally trained in technical design for theatre, Ruby has spent the last several years focusing on their screen career. They have joyously produced POC-led projects such as TVNZ web series Life Is Easy  - nominated for Best Comedy at the 2020 NZ Television Awards, Loading Docs crowd favourite Asian Men Talk About Sex, and the first NZ-made, multilingual Chinese show Inked 半的绊’ for Prime TV. Ruby has recently released Elephant in the Bedroom, a podcast and documentary series for RNZ that confronts the intersection of sex, love and race, and is currently line producing artist Lisa Reihana's next large-scale artwork Groundloop. Ruby has recently set up their own production company ‘i te ahiahi’ aimed at producing work that is intersectional and inclusive.

Peata Melbourne (Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata) 
With a background in screen and music production spanning 21-years that includes producing, news reporting, presenting, directing, researching, and acting in films, and drama series. Currently Peata is the news anchor for Māori TV’s flagship show, Te Ao Mārama.  In 2012 Peata co-produced music album – He Rangi Paihuarere winning Best Traditional Māori Album of the Year.  Under her company banner Te Koru Media Peata produced theatre play Provocation in 2020. Followed by her first independently funded short film, Disrupt which screened in NZIFF Ngā Whanaunga, Hawaii International Film Festival, Beverly Hills International Film Festival, Wairoa, and Māoriland Film Festivals in 2022. Peata is in the early stages of pre-production for NZFC funded short film The Hanging Tree – Te Rākau Atamira, while concurrently developing the story as a feature film. Coming from a family deeply rooted in the foundations of te ao Māori Peata aims to make films that show the Māori world she knows and loves.


Last updated: 
Friday, 22 July 2022