Tomairangi Harvey (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Mutunga, Moriori) won the Best Young Film-maker award last night at the Japanese Wildlife Film Festival for her short film, Te Ao o te Tuturuatu.
The 12-year-old made the five minute animated film when she was just 11, about the endangered tuturuatu or shore dotterel and its habitat and survival in Aotearoa.
Along with her award, Tomairangi has also set the record as the youngest film-maker ever to have a film selected in the 25-year history of the festival.
The most prestigious festival of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region, this year it selected 48 films to screen in competition out of 1853 entries from 112 countries.
Tomairangi wrote, directed and animated the film, which was narrated in te reo Māori, all by herself.
The festival judges said, "The sympathy, deep feeling and love that 11-year-old Māori girl Tomairangi Harvey feels for the shore dotterel overflows from her animated film and was clearly conveyed to us."
Tomairangi said winning the 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. Te reo Māori is a way for me to show people through my own eyes," she said.
Te Ao o te Tuturuatu was made for New Zealand’s sustainability film challenge for young people, The Outlook for Someday. It won the Whakatipuranga Award in 2014 for a film with a Māori indigenous perspective on sustainability.
Check out more info here on Tomairangi's film on The Outlook for Sunday website.