Ōtaki filmmaker Oriwa Hakaraia wins innovation award

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Oriwa Hakaraia receiving the GirlBoss award for innovation.

Ōtaki’s Oriwa Hakaraia, 17, has won an innovation award for her work with Ngā Pakiaka, Māoriland’s collective of rangatahi filmmakers.

The award is part of the national GirlBoss Awards honouring girls and women aged 11-18 who are defying stereotypes and creating change in their communities.

With just three percent of funding going to female-led start-ups and only three percent of New Zealand’s NZX chief executives being women, GirlBoss founder Alexia Hilbertidou believed this generation of young women can change that.

“We celebrate inspiring young leaders, facilitators, role models, and innovators which together work towards closing the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, maths, entrepreneurship and leadership,” Alexia said.

Oriwa Hakaraia receiving her award with GirlBoss founder Alexia Hilbertidou and Method managing director Sam Ramlu.Oriwa Hakaraia receiving her award with GirlBoss founder Alexia Hilbertidou and Method managing director Sam Ramlu.

Oriwa, of Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kapumanawawhiti was awarded the innovation award for her work with Ngā Pakiaka.

As a founding member of Ngā Pakiaka, Oriwa has been involved since 2016, with the group growing from five people to 15 members.

It is through this group that she has been inspired and came to co-direct Bub.

Bub is Oriwa’s debut professional film inspired by a vision of a young boy she had walking home from school with no shoes.

Last year Oriwa became one of Aotearoa’s youngest filmmakers to premiere off-shore alongside co-director Te Mahara Tamehana at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto, Canada.

She has also helped facilitate filmmaking workshops for rangatahi across New Zealand through Ngā Pakiaka.

Bub directors Te Mahara Tamehana, left, and Oriwa Hakaraia, right, with actor Inia Manawatawhi Rangiaio who plays Bub.Bub directors Te Mahara Tamehana, left, and Oriwa Hakaraia, right, with actor Inia Manawatawhi Rangiaio who plays Bub.

“Being involved with Ngā Pakiaka has been life-changing for me.

“Everyone in the group brings their own personality, ideas and stories – this is what makes Ngā Pakiaka so great.

“I feel as though I have grown as a filmmaker and a person through working with the other members, and having their support is so important to me.”

After a crowdfunding campaign to get to Canada, Oriwa was inspired after being surrounded by international indigenous filmmakers.

“I felt so inspired being surrounded by indigenous filmmakers and storytellers who were telling their stories and the stories of their people.

“I learned so much about myself and about filmmaking at the festival and I can’t wait to go back. I loved every second of it.”

Oriwa was nominated for the GirlBoss Innovation award by her mum, filmmaker Libby Hakaraia.

Oriwa Hakaraia with her mother and fellow filmmaker Libby Hakaraia.Oriwa Hakaraia with her mother and fellow filmmaker Libby Hakaraia.

“This was my first time being involved with GirlBoss, it’s such a wonderful kaupapa and I’m definitely super keen to stay involved with them,” Oriwa said.

Receiving an email telling her she had won, Oriwa’s reaction was shock.

“I was so gobsmacked I nearly dropped my phone.”

After attending the awards ceremony in Auckland last week, Oriwa said: “Winning a GirlBoss award for innovation is such an honour.

“I’ve always been passionate about girls empowering girls.

“It was such a wonderful event, I felt so inspired and empowered by all the amazing women around me pushing forward in their successes.”

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