Issue date: 
Friday, 28 April 2023

Cian Elyse White (Te Arawa, Ngāti Pikiao/Ngāti Te Tākinga, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou (Te Whānau a Ruataupare, Te Whānau o Hinetāpora), Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa, Tainui) has been selected as a Native Lab Fellow for the Sundance Institute’s 2023 Native Lab. It will be held online 1 – 5 May and continues from 8 – 13 May in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Native Lab concentrates on the distinct development of feature film and episodic work by storytellers from Native and Indigenous backgrounds. Artists will enhance their storytelling and technical skills, including one-on-one feedback sessions with advisors and roundtable discussions, where they will also explore indigenising their creative practices. Cian is attending the 2023 Native Lab and Sundance Film Festival 2024 with the assistance of NZFC’s Te Rautaki Māori funds.

Cian Elyse White has etched out a busy career as an actor, writer, and director for stage & screen. The Rotorua local gained international traction for her award-winning short film Daddy's Girl (Kōtiro), which she wrote and directed, and her te reo Māori short PIIKSI/HUIA, which was selected for the Seattle International Film Festival & Blacklight film festival 21/22. PIIKSI/HUIA was created during the ‘Native Slam’ film makers collaboration produced by Māoriland.

Cian also directed the 2020 NZTV Award-nominated series Living By The Stars with Professor Rangi Mātāmua, and has written and storylined for TV shows such as Ahikāroa and Head High. She also has two SWANZ for best new writer & best play ‘Te Puhi’.

She trained as an actor at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, where she won the prestigious Museum Hotel Scholarship for Acting. Cian Elyse also appeared in the feature film Cousins, and the TV series My Life Is Murder.

She was also the 2022 recipient of the SAE Award for Outstanding Newcomer from WIFT NZ.

Cian Elyse is passionate about championing kaupapa Māori films and uplifting the voice of wāhine Māori in storytelling.

Last updated: 
Friday, 28 April 2023