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.

The celebration and conversations then continue year-round at the Māoriland Hub, a cinema and arts facility, soon to be home to New Zealand’s first Filmmaker Residency (to open late 2019).

Māoriland Film Festival is operated out of the Māoriland Hub in the beautiful coastal town of Ōtaki, just one hour north of New Zealand's capital city, Wellington.

At Māoriland we believe in the vitality of Indigenous knowledge and the power of being able to communicate Indigenous perspectives in Indigenous terms. The works presented at Māoriland are a showcase of the immense wealth of Indigenous creative talents, demonstrating the unique and diverse perspectives of Indigenous people the world over.

Māoriland celebrates these works in unique settings across Ōtaki, including marae (traditional carved houses), an award-winning leisure centre and outdoors using the best technology.

MFF has a strong focus on developing youth filmmaking with a series of youth workshops held throughout the year.


Films screened at Māoriland Film festival 2019 are eligible for People’s Choice Awards for Best Short Film, Best Documentary, Best Feature Film, and Best Youth Film.

Laurels will be sent to prize-winning films.

More categories may be established at the discretion of the festival.

If you have any questions or need support, please contact maddy@maorilandfilm.co.nz

Māoriland exists to uplift the perspectives and stories of Indigenous peoples.

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

To be eligible for Māoriland an Indigenous creative must be credited in a key role such as director, producer or screenwriter.

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.

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, Māoriland will follow up with the submitter to clarify eligibility.

Māoriland prioritises work that:

Innovates to present unique and new Indigenous perspectives
Provides a portal to the Indigenous world for ALL peoples.
Upholds the mana (respect for) and inspiration of our storytellers - guided by our elders and taught by our children.
Respects our audience
Relevance of work in regards to emerging themes and issues that shape our wider Indigenous experience.

Programmers may consider a limited number of works at its discretion where a 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.

All non-English language films must have subtitles in English for final viewing, Indigenous languages may be un-subtitled 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 October 7, 2019. Late submissions will be considered until October 27, 2019. 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 to the 2018 festival will incur the below fees.
Early bird - Free
Regular - $10 USD, $5 USD for student filmmakers and youth filmmakers aged 24 years or less.
Late - $25 USD for late submissions, $15 USD for student and youth submissions

Māoriland 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.

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 or older formats such as digi beta.

Please note:
- Māoriland Film Festival will not pay customs duties, cash on delivery or any other charges incurred during shipping. If the postage is insufficient it will be returned to the sender.
- Do not send submissions in fibre-filled envelopes as the dust can damage discs and viewing equipment.
- Preview DVDs will not be returned unless specifically requested and a self-addressed envelope with New Zealand postage is provided, after the Festival.
- Participants will be notified by email of the selection results by January 31, 2020 (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 18, 2020.
- All submissions will be transferred to Zone Festival for festival management.

Overall Rating
  • marianne george

    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
  • thank you dear festival
    its my idea about your festival in my instagram page

    March 2020
  • Tristin Greyeyes

    Very supportive, loving, and cultural environment. I enjoyed every single second being here. I hope to go again one day. I highly recommend this festival.

    June 2019
  • Alex L

    This was a magical film festival, I highly recommend everyone attend if you can make the trip. Everyone on the Maoriland team is so kind, thoughtful and it feels like you are being welcomed into the family. Thank you so much for a life changing experience! Can't wait to attend again in the future!

    April 2019
  • I had an awesome week of experiences at Maoriland Film Festival 2019. If your film is selected, be sure to make the trip to beautiful Aotearoa. The organisers and their fantastic team will show you the most amazing hospitality and love. Superb screenings with Q&As in excellent venues and engaged audiences as well as a terrific range of workshops and cultural events that all take place within the super-welcoming town of Ōtaki. I hope to be back ASAP...
    Ngā mihi nui, Taratoa.

    April 2019