Each March the Indigenous world comes together in Ōtaki, Aotearoa (New Zealand) to celebrate Indigenous screen storytelling at Māoriland Film Festival, the largest Indigenous film festival in the Southern Hemisphere.

Located on New Zealand’s Kāpiti Coast, Ōtaki is a vibrant seaside town where Māori culture and language thrives.

The 10th Māoriland FIlm Festival - MFF23 will take place from March 15-19 2023

Films programmed at the Māoriland Film Festival and Māoriland Rangatahi Film Festival are eligible for Audience Choice awards. The following categories will be awarded at the Māoriland Red Carpet Party on Sunday 19 March. 

People's Choice - Drama (Feature) 
People's Choice -  Documentary (Feature) 
People's Choice - Short Drama
People's Choice - Short Documentary
Rangatahi Choice

Maoriland exists to uplift the perspective and stories of Indigenous peoples.

Maoriland considers film, video, digital and interactive media work and artwork (all mediums) made by Indigenous creatives.

To be eligible for your work to be presented or displayed by Maoriland, an Indigenous creative must be credited in a key role such as director, producer or screenwriter. Artworks must be created by an Indigenous individual.

The Indigenous creative must self-identify with and be recognised as an Indigenous person. Indigenous peoples are also known as Tangata Whenua, Aboriginal, Native, First Peoples or Tribal Peoples who belong to; or who have had an uninterrupted relationship with their land. This is distinct from those people who have arrived from another place to live in a country. The festival cannot advise an individual if they are Indigenous or not.

While a key creative involved in the project must be Indigenous, the issue or content of the film may be non-Indigenous. This recognises the diverse experiences, identities and perspectives of Indigenous people(s), worldwide.

Where the eligibility of a submitter is unclear, Maoriland may follow up with the submitter to clarify eligibility, or the work will be deemed to be ineligible.

Maoriland prioritises work that:

Innovatively presents unique and new Indigenous perspectives

Upholds the mana and inspiration of our storytellers - guided by our elders and taught by our children.

That respects our audience - Maoriland is rooted in the traditions and language of the hapu and iwi of Otaki. It is our honour to extend manaakitanga to all who present their work and experience those presented within Maoriland.

Provides a portal to the Indigenous world for ALL peoples.

Relevance of work in regards to emerging themes and issues that shape our wider Indigenous experience.

Requirements for submitters:

Submissions made via Film Freeway will be imported to our festival submissions software, Zone. You will be asked to review your submission to ensure that the details are correct following the import process.

All non-English language films must have English or Maori subtitles for final viewing, Indigenous languages may be unsubtitled if the overarching message of the film is clear.

Preview screeners and exhibition masters must have no commercial blacks or broadcaster promos.

The deadline for film festival submissions is November 9, 2021. Late submissions will be considered until December 9, 2021. If your work is not ready for the deadline and you wish it to be considered for this year's Festival, please contact maddy@maorilandfilm.co.nz immediately

Submission Fees

Submissions open (FREE): October 1 2022

Submissions close: November 4 2022

Late Submissions ($25 NZD) close: December 4 2022
Maoriland Film Festival is run by a not-for-profit charitable trust. The submission fees assist us with the hefty administration and time it takes to create our festival programme

Read the submission instructions carefully before submitting.
Incomplete Submission Forms will not be processed.

Submission Categories:

- Maoriland Film Festival (general screening programme)

- Maoriland Rangatahi Film Festival (youth-targeted screening programme)

- M.A.T.C.H (creative technology exhibition - VR, gaming & new technology)

- Installations & Light Artworks

During the festival Toi Matarau gallery presents its annual exhibition of Maori & Indigenous art. For inclusion in this programme please contact Toi Matarau directly.

If selected for the festival, we can only accept hi-res downloads and by mail including blu-ray and/DVD/digital files.
We do not accept DCP files.

Please note:

Maoriland Film Festival will not accept physical submissions.

Participants will be notified by email of the selection results by January 31, 2023 (date approximate).

If selected, artist/screening fees are issued to the Indigenous creative as indicated on the Submission Form, or to a recognised distribution company. Awards will be given to the Indigenous creative.

If selected for the festival, exhibition copies must be sent in by February 19, 2023.

Programmers may consider a limited number of works at their discretion where work has been created with genuine and mutual participation from an Indigenous person or group of peoples. References and further background will be requested for works submitted under this category.

Overall Rating
  • Nicholas Riini

    Awesome film festival as always. Very blessed to show another film.

    December 2022
  • Cassie De Colling

    It was an honour to be screening alongside the calibre of films Maoriland 22 put on. Thank you for all your pivoting through Covid. I wish we could have been there. You made it feel like we were! Thank you!

    July 2022
  • Our hats are off to the organizers of Māoriland Film Festival. Every aspect was top-notch. Our film KARANGA was in a collection of well-programmed and high-quality short films. The good folks running the theatre and Q and A were wonderful. We screened to a packed house for a smart and receptive audience. And Ōtaki is inspiring. Just magic.

    July 2022
  • Dianne Ouellette

    Fantastic festival, communications, and well organized! I wish I could have been there!

    April 2021
  • MFF stand proud as a supportive hub of Indigenous filmmaking. MFF leadership was so very organized, hospitable, and thorough in responding to our needs. It was tough that the March 2020 virus response made it imposslble for us to join in and for many to gather. But decisions had to be made and Taumako and Hawaii colleagues and I are determined to return next year. 2021 MFF will surely be the most joyful and intensely creative filmmaker gathering ever.

    March 2020