A Northland woman is heading to the world's biggest indigenous film festival next week to present a web documentary series filmed in Palestine.

Paitangi Ostick, a Waitangi carver, weaver and ta moko artist, will represent He Ao Kotahi (The One World Project) at the ImagineNATIVE festival in Toronto, Canada, from October 18-22. She will be joined by assistant producer Shirley Allen and web designer Clea Pettit.

Ms Ostick fronted the project's first 10-part series, Pai in Palestine, in which she travelled to the Middle East to immerse herself in the art and lives of Palestinians.

The plan is to create up to 24 series, each bringing a Maori artist together with a different indigenous culture.


Ms Ostick said festival organisers had asked the He Ao Kotahi crew to give a series of talks about the project and their experiences in Palestine.

While in Toronto she would also represent her iwi, Ngati Wai, and try to forge connections for the next web series, which could be filmed in Canada with First Nations people.

"It's humbling to be asked. ImagineNATIVE is the biggest festival of its kind in the world," she said.

Producer Paula Jones, the project's mastermind, is unable to attend.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian community in New Zealand was "stoked" with the series, Ms Ostick said.

"They're really supportive of what the He Ao Kotahi team has done and thankful for the awareness it's created for their people."

The project website already went well beyond Pai in Palestine by providing a showcase for Maori and Palestinian artists, with biographies, links and images of their work, as well as background information on culture, places and issues.

This year's ImagineNATIVE festival will have a strong New Zealand flavour with Waru, about the death of a small boy at the hands of his caregiver, chosen as the opening film.

The film, which aims to open up discussion of child abuse, weaves together eight short films, each made by a Maori woman and telling the boy's story from another character's perspective.

Casey Kaa from Matauri Bay was one of the film-makers and will also be heading to ImagineNATIVE.

Other Northlanders who worked on Waru include Renae Maihi, Awanui Simich-Pene and Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu. Paula Jones also directed one segment.

■ Go to www.heaokotahi.co.nz to watch Pai in Palestine.