Māoriland: Nurturing the next generation of screen professionals in Aotearoa

Earlier this month, some Toi Mai kaimahi had the chance to visit Māoriland in Ōtaki, the home of the Māoriland Film Festival and a hub of technology and creativity for local rangatahi. 

Sitting within the Toi Pāho (screen and broadcast) sector of Aotearoa, Māoriland began in 2014 as the Māoriland Film Festival, celebrating and promoting Indigenous voices through film. It has since grown into the Māoriland Hub, “which is a centre of excellence for Māori film and creativity,” says Kaiwhakahau Hōtaka and Māoriland Film Festival Director Madeleine Hakaraia de Young. The Māoriland Hub now provides space and support for the development of all screen-based media (including interactive and emerging technologies), performing arts and visual arts.

Where it all started: the famous Māoriland caravan.

Toi Mai released the Toi Pāho workforce development plan (WDP), Te Wao Nui o Toi, in March of this year, which outlined the sector’s shortage of below-the-line workers (those working behind the scenes in screen and media production). The sector is keen to diversify and to build a sustainable workforce – and one way to do this is by making it more accessible for underrepresented learners and communities (including Māori, Pacific peoples, women, tāngata whaikaha and the LGBTQIA+ community) so they can see themselves in the sector and pursue the range of Toi Pāho careers available.

Exemplifying this kaupapa, Madeleine says a goal of Māoriland is to “be able to employ and train a whole new generation of rangatahi into the screen sector and also all the creative sectors that support our industry.”

A behind-the-scenes shot of our interview with Madeleine Hakaraia de Young in the middle of the Māoriland Hub.

The Toi Pāho WDP is just one step towards a thriving and sustainable screen sector. Following further sector consultation, Toi Mai released an action plan highlighting four key areas of work: industry-aligned short courses, improved pathways to facilitate more diversity, better coordination between training and forecasting industry demand, and making roles in screen production more visible and accessible to a wider potential workforce. 

From this, we developed a new Introduction to the Screen Industry micro-credential, which includes a business skills skill standard developed in collaboration with Ringa Hora, all of which will be listed on the NZQA framework by mid-2024. The existing NZ Diploma in Screen Production has been reviewed with sector-led changes that ensure learner outcomes are aligned with the sector’s needs. There is also a substantial number of skill standards for below-the-line occupation currently underway, with the aim of both upskilling the existing workforce and opening the door to workers new to screen. These will be tested with a work-based case study in early 2023 before being finalised for delivery across the motu. 

There is much more to be done to create a thriving and diverse Toi Pāho workforce, and industry bodies like Māoriland play a key role in this industry growth. 

“It’s about building a radically abundant screen and creative ecosystem,” says Madeleine, “for all rangatahi, all Māori, all of our creatives in Aotearoa to be part of, so that we can be living sustainable, thriving lives, where we’re not worrying about where the next pay check is going to come from, or how we’re going to look after our whānau, or burning out because we’re working crazy hours.” 

Visit the Māoriland official website for more information and check out all the mahi we’ve done in Toi Pāho below:

Toi Pāho WDP: Te Wao Nui o Toi 

Toi Pāho Action Plan 

Introduction to the Screen Industry micro-credential 

NZ Diploma in Screen Production review