Internationally acclaimed director Taika Waititi (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui) is the recipient of the Te Waipuna-ā-Rangi Award for Arts and Entertainment.
The award is special recognition of the extraordinary contribution, sacrifice and commitment Waititi has made in the New Zealand arts and entertainment industry.
Taika Waititi’s runaway 2016 hit Hunt for the Wilderpeople has become New Zealand’s most successful film ever, breaking national box office records and becoming the highest grossing Kiwi film in history.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople took out seven categories at the 2017 New Zealand Film Awards including Best Film and Best Actor.
His 2003 short film, Two Cars, One Night, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 2005.
In 2007 he went on to direct, Eagle Vs Shark a romantic comedy which was produced by last year’s Te Waipuna-ā-Rangi recipient Cliff Curtis. Waititi also wrote the screenplay for the film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival Director’s and Screenwriter’s Labs.
Waititi also co-directed and starred alongside Jemaine Clement in the 2014 mockumentary horror comedy, What we do in the Shadows based in Wellington which earned $6.9 million on a $1.6 million budget. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014.
The most recent notch on Taika Waititi’s belt is directing the latest instalment of Marvel’s Thor Ragnarok which stars Chris Hemsworth and has one of the most viewed movie trailers in history. The film is due to premiere in November this year.
Due to a very busy work schedule, Waititi was unable to attend the ceremony tonight however he sent through a quirky mihi and his close friend Bailey Mackey accepted the award on his behalf.