The new manager of Whanganui's Awa FM radio station has been honoured for her wide-ranging roles in Māori film and television.

Whetu Fala (Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Maru ki Taranaki, Samoa, Rotuma) started the Whanganui job on March 4. She will receive the Women In Film and Television Mana Wāhine Award at an Awards Gala Wairoa's Gaiety Theatre on June 1.

Fala was "absolutely blown away" by receiving the award.

"I'm going along, I'm doing what I love and you get an award as well," she said.


She started work at Television New Zealand in 1988 and has worked in film and television since, as an actor, writer, director and producer - and for the last 20 years as owner of Fala Media.

She's been involved with dramas, documentaries, reality series and short films, and has coached and mentored many. She is on the boards of Māori Television, Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision and Te Puna Ataata (the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust).

She's not ruling out her continued involvement, despite her new job. All media are one now, she said, with no firm lines between theatre, film, television and radio.

Fala Media is still going, and making a documentary about the Taki Rua Theatre.

She is also loving her job at Awa FM, and finding lots of talent that doesn't have a platform.

"It's figuring out how to find places for all of these wonderful people, mainly rangatahi, but I'm not disregarding kaumātua. My little eyes are gleaming," she said.

Her citation says Fala is infused with wairua auaha, the creative spirit, and that she has burst through glass ceilings.

She has done it all "with a joy for life, a sharp intellect, an acerbic sense of humour, and a great love for people," the writer said.


"She encapsulates everything that is Mana Wāhine."

The award is for Māori women in film and television who work to support Māori culture, te reo Māori, tikanga Māori and the welfare and stories of Māori women. It was initiated in 2011 by Wairoa Māori Film Festival director Leo Koziol and his mother Huia Koziol.