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Taika Cohen and Taika Waititi, one and the same overachiever extraordinaire.

by emira » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:16 pm

Enter the taniwha
Kim Knight
Last updated 05:00 24/04/2011

Taika Waititi (centre) and cousins Jaimie (left) and Tweedie are fighting to protect iwi land and waters. Below, Taika with co-stars in Boy, filmed in his Waihau Bay home town.


Greenpeace protester Kylee Mathews defies a seismic survey ship.

Just offshore from where Taika Waititi's hit film Boy was shot, a Brazilian multinational is hunting for oil. Now the celebrated director is joining the battle to keep the coast safe for his iwi - and for all New Zealanders. Kim Knight reports.

TWEEDIE WAITITI points to a spot on the map.

What is this place called?


She has misunderstood the question. But spend an hour at her kitchen table listening to her talk about Waihau Bay and know that for her, there is no other answer.

It's after tea last Tuesday night. The kowhai tree out the front of this Ponsonby house stopped flowering weeks ago and the moon is huge.

Tweedie has called her siblings to the table to talk about home. Technically, only she and Jaimie are sisters. Taika Waititi is a first cousin. But in the Bay of Plenty's Waihau Bay, where up to a dozen kids at a time were raised by their grandmother, uncles and assorted parents, the distinctions blur.

The Waititi family are Te Whanau a Apanui – a small iwi from a narrow strip of land on the East Coast of the North Island. It is the tribe protesting at the government's decision to grant the world's third-largest petroleum company, Petrobras, a five-year permit to explore for natural gas and oil off the Raukumara Basin.

Last month, a protest flotilla left Auckland to stop Petrobras's seismic surveying.

"Apanui put out a call to the rest of the country," said Simon Boxer, Greenpeace New Zealand's climate change campaigner. "We responded to that."

On April 10, swimmers from five protest boats forced Petrobras's survey ship to divert from its course. The Air Force and Navy were sent to monitor the situation, and police issued marine notices requiring the flotilla to stay 200m from Petrobras ships – breaches could mean a fine of $10,000 or up to a year in jail.

"We are the most placid iwi on earth," says Tweedie, 25. "And I tell you what, the government has awakened some sort of taniwha. It's quite a surprise to see my people react the way they are reacting. We're all virgins at doing this. We never fight."

She is a South Seas film school student. Her younger sister studies fine arts at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design. And Taika? He's the unassuming guy who comes in late from work, wearing a beanie and checked shirt, who wrote, directed and starred in Boy, the film that made $9.3 million at the New Zealand box office.

We know this family, and we know the area they are fighting to protect, because last year we saw it at the movies. Boy was shot at Waihau Bay.

Once upon a time there really was money buried in a paddock. They really did get sick of eating crayfish. And their imaginations really were the wildest playgrounds.

"You've got to make up your own games when you've got nothing to play with," says Jaimie, 20. For two years, a pile of logs dumped in a paddock was a safety net from pretend quicksand or the ocean. Tweedie remembers when she was five, her grandmother gave the kids a bag of flour and told them it was a survival test. They made bread and went to the beach for paua.

How far was all of this from Petrobras's operations?

"You can pretty much spit on its boundaries."

The trio say they would love to get in the water with Greenpeace and other protesters. "But we can't all go to jail at the same time."

Instead, they're putting their combined talents into a sustained creative campaign. Expect concerts, documentaries, competitions, art exhibitions, T-shirts, posters and comic strips. An internet-based campaign will kick off in the next fortnight. They say they are not radicals – but they are in this for as long as it takes.

"It's not just an iwi issue," says Tweedie. "It's an environmental issue. It happens to be in our tribal lands, but if something goes wrong, it's not only our beaches that get ruined. It's everyone's ... I'm pretty sure not only Maori have a connection to the sea."

Will the Waititi name help the cause?

Taika: "It's not like my favourite pastime is to jump on every cause and every issue and put my face on it. But this is a very obvious one for me to take part in, because it means quite a lot to me. I'm sure it's not going to change John Key's mind – I'm sure he doesn't give a shit.

"I don't consider myself a particularly radical or crazy person, or anti-economy or people having jobs, but I'm very pro-environment and pro doing stuff for the good of the people and the good of communities."

Petroleum is New Zealand's third-biggest export earner – according to Crown Minerals, $1.7 billion worth of high-quality oil was exported in 2009/10.

Its last annual report notes that four years ago there was just one oil multinational exploring off our coasts. Now there are four. The royalty return on petroleum, coal and other minerals was almost $451m, down 22% on the last financial year, but up 351% on the year before that.

Those figures don't sway the Waititis.

At the same time the government celebrated its Petrobras contract, the world was watching the Gulf of Mexico.

Almost exactly one year ago, an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil exploration rig killed 11 people, injured 17 and caused an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil to leak into the ocean south of Louisiana and Mississippi.

It took British Petroleum almost three months to cap the well. Environmental groups estimate 6000 craft took part in the effort. World Wildlife Fund says that although 8000 oil-affected birds were rescued by authorities, as many as 640,000 could have been affected.

"It's the things you don't see that are the scariest," Dr Darron Collins told the Sunday Star-Times last week. The WWF United States spokesman spent several months in the Gulf spill zone.

"What keeps me up at night is that terrible toxic soup that's boiling down there. We just don't know what the long-term consequences of this are going to be.

"There are places to drill and there are places not to drill. We look to New Zealand as a leader in renewable energy policy. Over the short term, for good or bad, oil will be part of our energy future, but knowing where to go and having a response capacity is crucial."

Opponents say Petrobras will be working in seas up to twice as deep as the Gulf rig.

Jaimie: "It took the most intelligent people that they could resource three months to figure out how they could block that spill. Um, hello New Zealand."

Te Whanau a Apanui lore says if you look after the fish, the fish will return. Not just any fish either. The moki. Ugliest and saddest, the one their ancestor took pity on and brought to these waters.

It is honoured by rules.

In 1996, Mana magazine reported on fears for the fishery. The story included a School Journal excerpt from Cape Runaway students, in the voice of the moki: "We will provide tangata with kai as long as they don't beat us with rakau on our tapu heads, mix us with other kai in their boats, cook us on the beach or eat us raw... our father has warned that if we are ill-treated, we are to return to Hawaiiki forever."

But those rules were made long before a Brazilian petroleum giant sent its ships to the Raukumara Basin.

"That's the moki's home," says Tweedie. "Right where they want to drill. Every June, there is a star that shines in the sky and her name is Autahi, and that's our indication that the moki has come home."

The story is told on the walls of Te Whatianga at Kauaetangohia marae, at the eastern end of the iwi's territory. In 1974, Te Whanau a Apanui artists Cliff Whiting and Para Matchitt led a team of volunteers who decorated the inside walls of the wharenui and dining hall with tribal history.

Tweedie fears seismic testing for oil and gas resources will interfere with the moki's migration path.

Would money help?

"Like our lawyer said, our mana is not for sale and no amount of money could pay us off. Maybe some iwi you could dangle a carrot. But this one's not biting."

Matewa Waititi-Delamare taught her grandchildren to love the ocean.

"She brought us up on this beach. When you were a one-year-old, she'd do things like go diving and we'd cling on to her back and she'd say `when I go down, you hold your breath'.

"It is our main food source, but it is also healing. Guaranteed that if my grandmother was down about something, she was at the beach. She'd say that if you go down there and tell your problems, or have a cry at the beach, it will go back to Hawaiiki and our ancestors will hear about it. If I'm depressed, no doubt you'll find me down at the water. And there's no way I want to be crying to an oily beach."

Taika says that growing up, "I knew we didn't have any money. I knew that, because I would watch TV and go, `oh, I don't have that stuff'. But then I never really remember needing it."

There was one shop. "The only thing to spend your money on was an ice block or a chocolate bar. We weren't brought up feeling this big draw to material possessions or the latest gadgets. That's not at all a sob story. In hindsight, I think it's really cool. I love knowing that I don't need anything."

But what about the wider community? The possibility that Petrobras might create jobs and boost an ailing region?

"Regardless of any money poured into the New Zealand economy from any endeavour the government undertakes, it never goes back to those rural areas.

"I'm sure there are a lot of people who think it will be good for the economy. But there are a lot of screwed-up things that people have done, thinking they are good for the economy."

Renewable, sustainable energy is the way forward, he says. A WWF-commissioned Colmar Brunton poll released on Wednesday found 73% of New Zealanders did not want the government to prioritise the exploration and mining of fossil fuels to sell offshore, at the expense of developing wind, geothermal and biofuel technologies for use at home.

Oil exploration is not, says Jaimie, "moving with the times".

"The time of deep sea oil drilling was when? Like the 60s? We need to go forward to better things."

Waihau Bay made this trio.

"I definitely wouldn't be where I am, or in the position I am career-wise," says Taika (who buys carbon credits to offset his air travel, but admits he flies more than he would like to). He's mostly United States-based now, home for a short time to work on a commercial project he can't talk about – and to lend a hand to Tweedie's protest documentary.

"How I imagine I can be effective is to encourage people to try and understand what is going on out there. No one really has a good idea of what's at stake or what it means."

When Gerry Brownlee, energy and resources minister, announced the Petrobras permit, he said, "this is an exciting step into areas of New Zealand until now unexplored... we need to attract investment from petroleum companies that have the capacity and capability to explore and build knowledge of our offshore basins".

Who is going to get the jobs, asks Taika.

"We don't have that many New Zealand oil rig workers. It's not like we've been doing it for 100 years. It was never something that was offered up as a possibility when I was at school."

The dry, wry humour that made Boy is never far from the surface. Thirty-five-year-old Taika has, by any definition, "made it" as a filmmaker.

His short film, Two Cars, One Night was nominated for an Oscar. He couldn't make it to the Auckland premiere of Boy because he was in New Orleans, after he won a role in superhero movie Green Lantern. Right now, "I'm just writing and doing a bit of TV directing and film development. It's not as glamorous as anyone thinks, but it's good to be working".

Waihau Bay is where he chills out and recharges.

"I don't want to go back there and look at some stupid big piece of machinery out in the ocean.

"No one wants large companies doing stuff in their back yard... people who are living through the Bay of Plenty, the East Coast, the East Cape, would all consider that area to be our back yard. If anything was to happen... the repercussions are going to be out of control, because that stuff will spread.

"I don't think you have to be a Maori who is local to Waihau Bay to freak out about that.

"It will affect way more people than what the government is classifying as a bunch of small-town radicals."

The government has already invested $25m to complete seismic surveys and rework old data over what it calls "new frontier basins". That work made the Raukumara block offer possible – along with offers in the Northland and Reinga basins.

"I just don't imagine waking up to a nightmare like this," says Jaimie. "You see it in your dreams – I'm going to take your oil and your fish – but you don't see it in reality."

When they've stopped the Raukumara work, says her sister, "we'll travel to the next people who ask for help. The biggest thing is for us to shut the doors for those other oil companies who are lined up behind Petrobras".

The trio have been talking for more than an hour. They've helped the photographer shift the light box that is a touchstone to their home land. Waihau Bay. It shines, quite literally.

"When I go for a swim, I don't actually swim," says Jaimie. "I just float on the water and chill out on top." A slick of a young woman who says if it weren't for where – and how – she grew up, she'd probably be wondering what the fuss was about.

"Our grandmother would want us to stand up and fight. She'd want us to jump in the water."

TIMELINE: Exploration, protest in Raukumara Basin

December 10, 2008: Government releases a block offer covering two permit areas over the Raukumara Basin.

June 1, 2010: Government grants five-year permit to Brazilian oil company Petrobras to explore 12,330km2 in the Raukumara Basin for oil and gas, less than two months after the explosion and oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

June: A Facebook page protesting against drilling on the East Coast is set up and organises protests on the East Cape, including lighting bonfires on the beach. July: Gerry Brownlee, energy and resources minister, releases diary showing attempts to talk with iwi about the Raukumara block offer. Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia tells the Gisborne Herald the attempt came at a time when iwi were heavily involved in drafting foreshore and seabed deed and negotiating treaty settlement claims.

October 2: A second bonfire protest on the East Coast takes place, reported to be much larger than the first.

March 27, 2011: Flotilla leaves Auckland to join local iwi Te Whanau a Apanui and other protesters on the East Cape to protest at the deep-sea exploration and drilling in the Raukumara Basin, timed to coincide with the start of seismic surveying by Petrobras.

April 10: Swimmers from five protest boats force Petrobras's oil survey ship to divert its course.

April 11: Navy ships and Air Force planes begin monitoring the protest along with police.

April 12: Protesters are advised to stay at least 200m away from the survey ship and its support vessel and are threatened with arrests and fines.

April 17: Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell says he will draft a private member's bill giving iwi veto on offshore oil exploration and development.

April 20: One-year anniversary of US Gulf of Mexico disaster. Te Whanau a Apanui tribal leader Rikirangi Gage joins East Coast protest flotilla for the first time, on board fishing vessel San Pietro.

- Sunday Star Times


Stop Deep Sea Oil in NZ website and how Taika's whanau is involved in it. #sadlove# #cheer#
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by emira » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:58 pm

CAA has signed Cody Heller and Brett Konner. Heller and Konner are staff writers on the new MTV comedy series, "The InBetweeners." They are also currently developing a half hour pilot, "Pacman," which Plan B and Taika Waititi are attached to produce.


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by emira » Tue May 24, 2011 10:38 am

Applications Now Open For 'Fresh Shorts' Short Film Funding

24th May 2011
By Ed, Flicks.co.nz

Applications for this year's Fresh Shorts - the New Zealand Film Commission's short film funding scheme - have now opened. So if you're a filmmaker and have a story you feel compelled to tell, this could be the way to get that dream realised.

Fresh Shorts is the Film Commission's annual hunt for the next generation of filmmaking talent, with an end-goal of nurturing and inspiring up-and-coming talent.

To help get you started and to provide some guidelines for what they're looking for, here is what the Commission say a Fresh Short should be:

*Fresh, new directorial voices with distinctive, original styles.
*Fresh ideas not seen before in short film, or new and original takes on familiar ideas.
*Cinematic - ideas that deserve to be on the big screen.
*Narrative films with impact. They could be emotional, humorous or political, or designed to scare an audience. The films should aim to reach audiences and move them.
*Films that take risks, provoke and challenge audiences. Films that have something to say.

So if you think your idea matches that very generous criteria then get applying. 16 films will be funded, with eight films receiving $10,000 each and the other eight receiving $30,000 each. The level of funding will be based on the director's experience.

The deadline is 5pm Friday 15th July 2011 so if you're interested, don't muck about!

The full criteria, application form, Q&A and other useful documents can be found here: Fresh Shorts.

And if you're looking for some encouragement here's a Taika Waititi (director of the award winning Boy) led trailer featuring last year's winners to help get you motivated. Good luck!



I got motivated... #drool# #haha#

I wonder if this was this commercial he mentioned in the article about the deep sea oil drilling... #idea#
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by emira » Tue May 24, 2011 11:52 am

Oh, man... So much is happening in his world now. I cannot keep up with him! #haha#

Remember the Wellywood sign and that the airport people would think of something more interesting after being bashed away by the Wellingtonians? Well, they didn't and decided to go ahead with the sign and build it. #blah# #thumbsdown#

And here's what Taika thinks about it.

Taika Waititi enters war of Wellywood


Film director Taika Waititi has come out swinging against the Wellywood sign.

"I have always prided myself on hailing from a city of artists, the centre of New Zealand creativity, but this is so gauche, so Sesqui 1990."

If there had to be a sign then why not just "Wellington", which could be done in flowers to mimic one that used to be at the northern end of the runway, Waititi said.

"What about 'Bring Back Buck'? That's way more relevant to the Rugby World Cup. Or even `Apartheid sucks'. They're all about as new and cutting edge as this [Wellywood]."

Prime Minster John Key also entered the debate, saying he did "not really" like the sign.

"I think they got the `Well' bit right if you add an `ington' to it."

Asked if he thought it was tacky, Mr Key said: "Well, I don't mind if they do it, but personally, I'd put Wellington up."

Asked then if he did not like it, he said: "Not really."

Wellington Airport believes it has the legal right to erect the 3.5-metre-high sign, spanning 28 metres, on a hillside it owns next to the Miramar Cutting. However, it appears willing to pay a licence fee to the trademark holder of the Hollywood sign it would mimic.

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leron Gubler said he had not been contacted by the airport about the Wellywood sign since March last year.

"We hope that if the Wellington Airport wants to mimic our sign in this fashion, it will proceed in co-operation with us and will recognise that the holder of the rights to the sign ... is a nonprofit entity that works hard to raise funds so that the sign even exists to be mimicked."

However, a letter dated May 6 this year, sent by the airport to the chamber and obtained by The Dominion Post, said although it believed it could legally proceed with the sign, it would "like to explore further with you your suggestion of a licence fee approach".

Intellectual property lawyer Scott Moran, from Duncan Cotterill, said although many people may feel the airport's use of a Hollywood-style sign "doesn't feel right", it would be difficult for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to prove legal infringement.

The Hollywood sign was not a registered trademark in New Zealand, copyright had probably expired on the sign, and it would be difficult to prove unfair trading because it was unlikely people would accidentally visit Wellington thinking it was Hollywood.

Wellington City Council issued resource consent for the sign in December 2009. The process was non-notified, which stopped the public from having a say.

The council's regulatory processes committee chairwoman, Leonie Gill, said the only legal way to overturn the resource consent was by a judicial review.

Down with sign, say readers

Wellington has spoken clearly - ditch the Wellywood sign.

Of 737 Dominion Post readers who responded to a poll this week, 16 per cent supported the sign, compared with 69 per cent who did not.

"Pretentious", "an embarrassment", and "derivative and non-creative", were some comments.

But one reader said although the sign was silly, it could become "iconically silly". "Always pays to remember that a fair number of 19th-century Parisians objected to the Eiffel Tower and wanted it removed."

With 29 per cent of the vote, having no sign was most popular of the rejected sign options.

Some in favour of Wellywood said the issue was being taken too seriously. "It's a bit of frivolity, good for a giggle." one wrote.

- The Dominion Post


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by emira » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:15 am

emira wrote:
We Can Create

Announcing the re-launch of New Zealand’s biggest art and creative industries showcase

18 March, 2011 – Communications agency The Church today (18th March) announced the launch of We Can Create, a symposium for creative industry professionals taking place in Auckland’s Aotea Centre 26-27 August 2011.

The festival will bring together 12 of the planet’s top creative thinkers and doers in an all-inclusive art and creative showcase, run by creatives for creatives.

The inaugural event will be curated and produced by The Church, who for the past seven years ran and produced Semi-Permanent. This new event will connect with the best in art, design, culture and technology as well as showcase marketing creativity and innovation.

“After running Semi-Permanent for the last seven years, we are handing the moniker back and taking complete ownership of New Zealand’s only globally-focused creative communications festival. We Can Create will showcase top international and local speakers across all creative arenas – from design, technology, marketing, art and pop-culture,” says The Church’s newly appointed CEO, Simon Kozak.

Speakers who will be sharing their passion, perspectives and practices at We Can Create include: Taika Waititi, NZ film director, screen writer and actor; KesselsKramer, the leftfield Amsterdam advertising and publishing agency behind campaigns for Nike, Parool and Levi’s; Morag Myerscough, Britain’s multiple award-winning, integrated graphic design powerhouse; and London based The Rumpus Room, whose innovation and creativity has seen them combine real world, interactive and social platforms for Coca Cola, Xbox and MAC.

“The calibre of speakers is mind-blowing. We want to give New Zealanders a highly charged creative arena, where insights and perspectives can collide to produce new and exciting ideas that will both educate and inspire,” says Kozak.

For more information on We Can Create visit http://wecancreate.co.nz where you can join the mailing list to keep up-to-date with the festival’s progress.


We Can Create on:

I'm landing in Auckland on 1st September. I hope he will still be in NZ then. Maybe he wants to watch RWC at home? #excited2#

Oh! To be on one of the matches together with Taika and 47,000 other strangers #lol# ( #excited2# )

Taika had to pull out of We Can Create due to the production delays on The Inbetweeners :(
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by emira » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:53 pm

Boy Wonder

Next are warriors: For his next Kiwi film, Taika Waititi has the Maori Battalion in his sights - only it might be too big.

Taika Waititi is driving when I call. "I'll be parking in about ..." he says and pauses. "6.4 minutes." Pause. "Do you want to call me back in about seven minutes?" I do as he says. So how's his internal GPS system?

"Timed it perfectly," he says from an Auckland footpath. "I'm just walking out on to the street. The safety of the street."

Waititi, actor, joker, sometime Wellingtonian and, of course, brilliantly successful film-maker isn't easy to pin down.

Most of the time, he doesn't pick up his phone. His answerphone message directs you to send an email to [inaudible]@[inaudible].com. He's back in town on a week-long break from filming in the United States.

But when you do get him, he is funny and lively and smart and abidingly quirky, as all his movies get called. 6.4 minutes indeed.

Since we last spoke with Waititi, 36, his second feature film, Boy, has become the single highest-grossing Kiwi movie ever, eclipsing Once were Warriors and The World's Fastest Indian. It took $9.3million at the local box office. Something about his funny, dreamy tale of an East Coast Maori boy captured the national mood.

"Didn't see it coming, that's for sure," he says. "Like, I thought it was a good film, but I didn't expect a public explosion of support for it."

It's the tall poppy part of being a New Zealand film-maker, he says. You learn never to expect a great local reception. So, yes, a surprise.

"And a really nice surprise as well. Not that I would ever brag about it, but I'm quietly pretty chuffed with myself.

"And I think also just happy that New Zealanders are supporting New Zealand films in such a way. So often you can get a bit disheartened and think, `Man, what's the point, because people aren't going to see it'."

To be fair, he says, one reason they might avoid some Kiwi comedies is that we're not great at making them. We either lean on other countries' formulas or don't try them at all.

"So perhaps it was good timing just having a film that people wanted to see, a New Zealand comedy, which we don't make that often ... maybe it was that as well, but I don't think I'll ever really know why it did so well."

The other thing about making a Kiwi film or really any film is that everything moves slowly. So while Boy has won all sorts of gongs at film festivals, it's only now getting set for an American release where it will open in February.
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Those long intervals also explain how he can barely recall another notable gig of the past couple of years: an acting role in superhero flick Green Lantern. He played Tom Kalmaku, sidekick to the titular hero.

"It's so weird. I pretty much forgot that I was in it. It was over a year ago that I filmed it, and then it came out in June."

He went to the premiere, which was big, glamorous and fun. But he always felt removed from the movie, he says. It wasn't a reflection on the film's quality, just the whole business of working for another director.

"When you make up your own film, you feel very much part of it. But there I just felt like I was a very small cog in a monstrous machine. And it was someone else's project and someone else's dream, and it wasn't my dream."

Now Waititi is deep in the middle of another American project, working on a TV series for MTV, a channel otherwise "renowned for shows about children who get pregnant", he quips.

The show is The Inbetweeners, a transplant from Britain where the original series was such a huge success that it's spawned a hit film.

Waititi has already directed the first four episodes, and he's about to head back to the US to do the season finale.

Both versions follow a group of four teenage schoolboys – "the invisible group", he says, the sort who "just glide through school not really being picked on too much, but not at all being popular".

"They basically just pass their time trying to have sex, trying to get girlfriends, trying to get alcohol, and just going through all those experiences that people in college, high school, do."

There are plenty of quirks to filming in the US, he says. The actors who play the schoolboys are all in their early 20s – "that's classic". Most of the swearing and smut from the British show has had to be excised from the script. "We're not allowed to be as crass as the UK version, because the standards in the States are way higher ... It's really hard. You've got to do weird versions where you're making alternative swearwords."

There have been personal challenges too, such as spending weeks sweating in the heat of Orlando, Florida, the theme-park town where the series is being filmed.

"Orlando's not the most picturesque town I've ever been to," he says, laughing.

But it does have some perks. For one, it's got an "anywhere in America" feel, perfect for the show's fictional location.

For another, it's helped him focus on his writing. And Waititi is a writer, a creator. He cooked up Boy and his first feature Eagle vs Shark, and his two breakout short films from scratch.

You get the feeling he's comfortable in his own head, teasing out the next little bit of whimsy.

"I think the good thing about going somewhere boring like Orlando is that it forces you to just work," he says. "There's nothing else to do. It's very hard to write somewhere like New York, because you just want to go out."

He's got a couple of ideas for US shoots. He's upbeat, too, about what he thinks will be his next Kiwi film – an expansion of his 2004 short about the Maori Battalion, Tama Tu, which won international festival awards.

The only problem is that subject is almost too big. Even on the East Coast, where he's from, there are too many war stories to count, he says.

"I'm kind of spoilt because there's so many incredible stories from all over. And you want to try and include so many of them, but it's very hard to make something that would be authentic if you used all of these stories ... You'd have like 100 different characters."

Writing for the screen is so hard, he says.

"Screenwriting is probably one of the hardest things you can try to do, I think. It's not like writing a novel where you can just waffle on and there's no limit to how many pages you have."

Screenwriters have to land their finished product between 90 and 120 pages, he says. They have to keep the whole thing logically watertight. They have to be constantly attentive to the audience. "What is going to drive the story? Who are the main characters? What do they want?"

Writing is what occupies most of his time, he says. But this movie-star, MTV, jetsetting life, that's got to be good, right?

Like his friends and Flight of the Conchords stars Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, Waititi has spent the past five years or so extending his talent beyond the most outlandish predictions, proving that it wasn't just a one-time thing.

He seems to wear it all pretty lightly: the lifestyle, the success. He likes the travel, likes the chance to get away.

That Green Lantern movie? Fun, but "I wouldn't say it changed my life".

Travelling to Orlando? "Not exactly my dream come true."

The Hollywood payday? "Now their dollar's so dead, there's almost hardly any point earning money over there."

Another pause. "But I am enjoying it, yeah. It's nice to have a break from here [New Zealand], especially after spending 30-odd years here. But I'm not going to live there. I always want to live here. I think just for now it's nice to go over and take advantage of some of these opportunities."

The free-to-air television premiere of Boy is on Maori TV at 9pm on October 1.

- The Dominion Post

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by emira » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:04 am

Taika Waititi: supporting the Brits

Screen Hub
Friday 4 November, 2011

Taika Waititi directs a Cadbury-funded short to support UK athletes in the (loooong) run-up to the London 2012 Olympics. And a damn fine job of it he does too.


He's not having a holiday in London at the moment. :)

Run, Taika, run!
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by emira » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:17 pm

cross-posting this here....

emira wrote:Image


...because of this additional information:


And it was Taika Waititi's stomping ground in the 1980s where he rode his red HMX 500, played spacies and munched on 20 cent lolly mixes with his motley crew of mates.

The writer, actor and Oscar- nominated film-maker spent half his childhood in Aro Valley and the other half with his dad on the East Coast. Choice.

Coolest little suburbs: Aro Valley

Cute! I can totally see Taika riding a red bike like this. Red suits him #haha#

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by emira » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:41 pm

Twelve Questions with Taika Waititi
5:30 AM Thursday Mar 8, 2012

Taika Waititi says it is essential to take a flexible approach when working with children in films. Photo / Martin Sykes

Taika Waititi directed and starred in New Zealand's highest-grossing film, Boy. But Waititi, an Oscar nominee in 2005 for his short film Two Cars, One Night, last month launched a campaign appealing for $90,000 to help sell the hit 2010 film in the United States. Donations from 1826 fans exceeded $110,000 on the Kickstarter website. Waititi has promised to think of those generous fans each night as he goes to sleep.

Why does the star and co-creator of Boy have to appeal to his fans for money after it made $9.2 million at the box office in New Zealand?

"Although the film made a bazillion dollars, unfortunately most of the profits went to the distributors and cinemas. That's the current system; basically the artist does all the work and the people who sell popcorn make the most money. You can understand why more people are turning to the internet to release films. I'm opening a popcorn company at the end of the year."

What single most important lesson did you learn from making Boy?

"If you pray to the gods that it won't rain for eight weeks during the wet season, they listen. That and not taking things too seriously. You have to let go of the control and allow things to develop. You need to have a flexible attitude, especially working with kids. ."

What is your next project about?

"Nazis. It's a comedy. I'm not lying."

Who would play you in the film of your life?

"Me, if I'm still alive. When is this movie being made? What dates? I'd wait a few years to allow the real me to do some more stuff otherwise the film will be a bit short. If I'm dead I don't think you should make it. Anyone else will just screw it up."

For what cause would you lie down in front of a bulldozer?

"People fighting for the right to sleep with construction machinery."

When did you last laugh out loud?

"Literally seven seconds ago. I laughed at my bulldozer joke."

What music unravels you?

"By 'unravel', do you mean 'lose my mind and want to kill myself'? If so, then probably Dubstep. Unravel kind of sounds like making love to yourself. If you're asking that, then it's obviously Kenny G."

What is your favourite word?

"It used to be 'wriggle' but now it's 'wraggle'. I made it up as an alternative to wriggle. It also works as a tag on to wriggle, as in, 'I'm gonna wriggle-wraggle over to that pudding and eat it'."

What would you most like to change about yourself?

"I wish I was less good-looking and more unpopular. Then I could get into politics and use my pent-up resentment about being ugly and unpopular to systematically destroy the country."

The nation you most identify with, other than New Zealand?


What do you dream about?

"I actually keep having this one recurring dream where I'm a little number standing in a line of other numbers that look identical to me. Then there are more and more of these numbers that follow me, again and again and again. It's more of a nightmare."

What would be your epitaph?

"He slipped on a banana peel that was meant for someone else."

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by Amily » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:27 pm

Love that interview. #love3#

The mention of wraggle made me think of waggle. Either Taika and/or Jemaine say it in one of The Humourbeasts videos. #haha#
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by emira » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:58 am

Amily wrote:The mention of wraggle made me think of waggle. Either Taika and/or Jemaine say it in one of The Humourbeasts videos. #haha#

I don't remember that! I'll have to double check. But I do remember that in a similar interview some time ago, he said his favourite word was "wank". I guess he likes words starting with "w". #lol#
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by emira » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:25 am

I've just found this interview with Taika and his mum, Robin Cohen from last year. It's really great and interesting, especially the interview with his mum. #love3# And Taika speaks like a vampire in one point. He sounds like Schwarzenegger #lol#

Te Ahi Kaa mo 22 o Haratua (May) 2011

from Te Ahi Kaa on Sunday 22 May 2011

Maraea Rakuraku attends this year's Victoria University Alumni dinner in which Maori writer and Director Taika Waititi is honoured.
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by introinter2003 » Wed May 30, 2012 3:42 pm

As all you kickstarter backers know, we´ve receibed an Proyect Update mail today, and it starts like this:

" Hey everyone!
It's been quite a week but I can now confirm that I have an 8-day old baby. It's a human, of the female variety, and I couldn't be happier. Her name is Te Kainga o te Hinekāhu. It's long, but if you want you can call her Te Hinekāhu, or "Tupac: the Resurrection Hologram" for short"

And ends like this:
" ps. I will send this email TWO more times to remind you. Then I shall send only photos of my baby dressed as famous historical figures."

#cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #thumbsup# #thumbsup# #thumbsup#

/:) #blowkiss#
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by emira » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:14 pm

Encouraged by how popular the group card to Jemaine on his birthday was, we've decided to send one to Taika to congratulate on his fatherhood. Details and the link to the card is on the World Of Taika website.

#cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer#

/:) #blowkiss#
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by emira » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:10 pm

Nonch pointed me out to this video with Taika as a part-time model the night before Eagle vs Shark premiere (he's at about 6:30 min into the video and then at the very end of it).

Menswear Fashion Show,White Label Launch NZ-
Nektar Films:Wellington, NZ
DJ Kava: selections
San Fran Bathhouse, Wellington, NZ 20/7/07

and a photo from Mandatory Menswear fb album, Behind the Scenes


#loveeyes# #haha#
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