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Wiremu Grace

Wiremu is a writer and film director. He studied writing at Whitireia Community Polytechnic in Porirua City and later went on to gain a masters degree in creative writing at Victoria University in Wellington.

This has led to Wiremu’s work of writing and directing films.

Tell us about yourself, your whānau, hapū, iwi, and school

I am Ngāti Toa / Ngāti Porou. I have lived in the Ngāti Toa rohe for most of my life.

How did you first get into the film industry, and what is your current title?

I am a Writer / Director. I started off writing, but before that I was into acting and visual arts, so directing was a natural progression.

Who are some of the people who have influenced you in your work life?

My mum, people who have strived for the very best in their careers and life, the lead singer of Cold Play, Chris Martin, Bob Marley, Nelson Mandela, and Te Rauparaha.

What were some of your achievements to date?

* Having kids ☺
* The first film I wrote, Tūrangawaewae, was accepted into the Cannes Film Festival and won alot of awards.
* My first short film, Kēhua, was in a competition at the Berlindale 59th Film Festival in Germany.
* I have been accepted into the Binger Filmlab in Amsterdam and will study there for 5 months.

What do you like to do when you're not working?

Surf, play music, exercise, gardening, taking photos, and hanging out with whānau or friends.

How does being Māori influence you and what you currently do?

Being Māori is where my stories come from. I can only see things and tell stories from my perspective. Stories told from a Māori perspective are deemed 'indigenous' or 'not mainstream' according to other cultures, but to me, it's just normal. Being a minority culture is an advantage in that we have things to say that can only come from us, but at the same time, there are universal themes and stories from all cultures that are just as relevant, which is what I like about good storytelling - it's universal. I like the fact that being Māori to me means 'whānau' which always influences my life and the stories that I tell.

What are your goals for the short term and long term? What are your dreams?

* My goals are to be successful in all aspects of my career and life, short and long term.
* To gain more experience and learn from my mistakes.
* To make more short films, and then go onto making feature films.
* I would like to have a place in the country with animals and a self-sustaining eco-friendly house.
* I want to be healthy and stay healthy.
* I want to be able to watch my mokopuna grow up.

What advice can you give to young people who want to get into your line of work?

* Take small steps until you are ready to take the big ones.
* Get experience in life if you've got something to say that's worth listening to.
* Be patient, generous and resilient, believe in yourself, listen to others, help others and work with others for common goals.
* If you don't know something, ask.
* Communicate effectively.

What's your favourite kai?

Fish and porridge with veges.

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