A number of Māori and Pacific films are heading to the Berlin International Film Festival this year to screen in a newly-created category celebrating indigenous storytelling in the South Pacific.

NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema will screen 16 short and feature-length films at the Berlin festival, with a mixture of fiction and documentary.

On the line-up is Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, Hepi Mita's documentary about his mother Merata Mita, a pioneer for Māori women in film-making. The documentary premiered at the New Zealand International Film Festival in 2018.

Vai, a new anthology film from the producers of Waru, brings together nine female Pacific film-makers and was filmed in seven countries: Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Samoa, Niue and New Zealand.


The film looks at a journey of empowerment through culture via the life of one woman, Vai, played by a different indigenous actress in each country.

For My Father's Kingdom, a documentary by Vea Mafile'o and Jeremiah Tauamiti, follows the life of a Tongan man who dedicates his life and money to his homeland decades after his departure.

The 2017 drama One Thousand Ropes, starring Frankie Adams, will also screen, alongside a number of New Zealand-made shorts. The full programme can be found here.