Hawaii International Film Festival

Really loved our trip to Hawai’i. My film The Pā Boys played at the HIFF (Hawaiian International Film Festival) and we were honoured to be invited. I say ‘we’ because there was a few of us from Aotearoa (New Zealand) including Taika Waititi (director of Boy) with his latest feature What We Do In The Shadows. Playwright and film writer/director Briar Grace-Smith (The Strength of Water, 9 of Hearts), producers Chelsea Winstanley, Tui Ruwhiu, Bailey Mackay, Karin Williams. Some of us flew straight from Toronto (see last post) which was another amazing trip.

The amazing thing about arriving in Hawaii at night is waking up the next day.


The day before the festival started we were invited guests at the inaugural Hawaiian Media Makers Conference which was a sold out event held at Alamoana Hotel and organised by Pacific Islanders in Communication (PIC). Such a great conference. The panel we spoke on was Building a Native Industry (in film). Apparently we were great, haha, and with Taika and Bailey, a couple of the funniest people I know it was definitely entertaining…

Bailey, Taika, Chelsey and Briar at HIFF opening. They had 7 chefs lined up and you just go help yourself. Cocktails too

HIFF was the closest thing I’ve been to ‘Hollywood’, not that that impresses me. It was great to able to observe the flash ‘dos’, red carpet kind of thing. We kind of snuck in the back way to avoid the hype. And Waikiki is the tourist mecca. But what always impresses me about Hawaii is the people. So hospitable, laid back and will do anything for you. Love the place and vibe.

The Pa Boys was received exceptional well. I was really humbled by the reaction. I had to present the screenings and answer audience questions afterwards. I was ‘almost’ speechless, but managed quite well in the end (-:

We got out of the Waikiki one afternoon and had an impressive traditional Hawaii meal at a friends house. That was really special too. Absolutely loved it.



Another amazing thing about Hawaii is the similarities in our languages. I listen to the local ‘leo'(language), read the street names, read anything in Hawaiian and try figure what it says. We have a few changes in consonants and some words that are not similar at all. But generally I can understand, if I can read it, or they speak slowly, lol.

A couple of examples are, Hawai’i in Maori is Hawaiki. Leo = Reo (language) Kona = Tonga (South)

Another thing I notice is they write words as whole words, where as we break them up, e.g. Liliuokalani = Riri o te rangi (in Maori this is ‘an angry sky’ referring to the build up of clouds, storms….

So every time I go to Hawaii I feel at home with my relations…

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