Arohanui Film Festival showcases entertaining, unique and adventurous independent films in Te Aroha, a vibrant and historic spa town in rural New Zealand.

"This Waikato town may have the country's best little film festival" -

The event attracts film enthusiasts to the scenic town for a weekend of screenings, workshops and discussions, as well as some unique premieres.

"Some of these films are presented by the film-makers and will not be available to see in New Zealand again." -

Te Aroha is fifteen minutes from Hobbiton Movie Set (Lord of the Rings), surrounded by the serene countryside seen in Ash Vs Evil Dead, while the cinematic Kaimai mountain range surrounding us leads to the beaches where the Pevensie children arrived in ancient Narnia (Prince Caspian). 

"The Arohanui Film Festival is held at the Future Te Aroha Centre, Te Aroha. The building was once home to about 100 sewing machines and their operators, owned by Bendon." -

"Living up to its name (which means “big love”), the festival is non-competitive, so everyone’s just there to kick back and enjoy the films." - The

Although we are non competitive, in 2016 we gave away prizes to audience members including a waterproof tough camera. We work with our selected film-makers to get local press and reviews, and all films get mini reviews from the audience. We have also assisted some films get television distribution, which is an area we aim to expand on.

"Documentary Drive will be featuring coverage of some of the fantastic documentaries screening at this year’s fest." -

All non-English language films must have English language subtitles.
Online Screener must be uploaded no later than the deadline date to qualify for the respective entry fees.
Entry fees are non-refundable
NO FEE WAIVERS - please don't ask.

Due to the expensive nature of New Zealand's classification system, we cannot pay screening fees.

Participation in Arohanui Film Festival implies understanding and acceptance of above regulations and requirements of this application.

The Festival reserves the right to complete any information not supplied by the filmmaker from whatever source available and will not be responsible if incorrect information is entered.

Accepted entries will receive one Full Festival Pass for the film's director or a nominated representative of the film.

I have read and accept the above regulations.

"The Arohanui Film Festival is not just another small town event in search of an identity. It is characterised by an ability to grapple with the cultural, political and spiritual. Much thought and love has been invested here." -

Overall Rating
  • Jase Taouma

    A mighty little film festival that's all spirit. A cozy space in a great town. Really enjoyed taking part in this. Thank you.

    May 2019
  • John Psathas

    Amazing festival! Geared toward filmmakers and wonderfully communicative! Thanks so much!

    January 2018
  • Leah McVeagh

    Good festival, really enjoyed it and meeting the passionate people who run it. It was great to finally share my film with a captive audience. Thank you!

    January 2018
  • Sarah Gampel

    This is a great festival. Even since I didn't have the opportunity to travel to the festival to attend the screening of my short film 'The Bus Trip' the festival did a great job promoting my film both on site irl and on-line. The communication was fast and really helpful. And even after the festival I got information of the audience feedback from my film, which is something I value a lot! Thank you Arohanui Film Festival!

    December 2016
  • Ilai Amir

    Although we weren't personally able to be at the festival some of our documentary's cast attended and had a really good time. As film-makers we really appreciated the personal communication we received from this festival. Top notch. It felt like a warm and welcoming home to have your film screened at. Thanks very much AFF!

    November 2016