Unitec students Waiting for 2017 International Film Festival

One of two short films by Unitec students, screened at the Wairoa Maori Film Festival over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, has been selected to screen as part of this year's NZ International Film Festival.



Waiting written by Samuel Kamu and directed by Amberley Jo Aumua, is a story inspired by Samuel’s West Auckland childhood and days spent outside the dairy — “a hangout place where the world didn’t matter” pretending to make calls to “very important people”.


When Amberley Jo first read Sam’s script, she immediately felt it could be set in South Auckland.


“I recognised these boys and girls because I have been one of them myself,” says director Amberly Jo, “when people walk or drive past places in South Auckland that look isolated, places of nothingness, all they see is the rough exterior but I think there’s beauty in being different.”


“In these places, there are stories, there are things going on, deeper things that mean something, things that are not talked about.


“It is in these places where you have the most natural and intimate conversations.”


The short film has also made the cut as a finalist for this year’s New Zealand’s Best short film at the upcoming New Zealand International Film Festival.


Gaylene Preston, who made the selection, says Waiting is "an outstanding student film set in a harsh world so rarely presented with such charm married with a sharp aesthetic eye for raw truth."



Also screened at Wairoa Maori Film Festival was Maria Vai’s I have curls.


The short film tackles the search for identity and the guardianship of knowledge from a Tongan perspective.


“I saw the issue of identity in the young people of my family and also those who I was mentoring as a youth worker – the big issue of not knowing who they are,” advised Maria.


“Young people are so soaked into the Westernised world they forget their roots.


“It is not only because they choose to, it is also because their family members who are responsible for passing this knowledge down don’t pay it forward. Your parents, your tribe, your village, your country – it is a right for these young people to know,” says Maria. And women have a key role as cultural custodians.


Maria and Amberley Jo brought to screen people from within their own family and community networks, who had no previous acting experience.


The films were part of their final-year study requirements.