Audience Choice Award for MIKA


The winner of the Ngā Whanaunga CineMāori Audience Award is Gurl. Director Mika X receives the $1,000 cash award sponsored by CineMāori, the new online platform for Māori cinema.

The Audience Choice awards were decided by the combined votes from audiences at the in-cinema screenings at ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland, The Roxy Cinema in Wellington, and online audiences.

Congratulations to all the Festival entries!

The New Zealand International Film Festival’s breakthrough streaming programme included another first - a competitive category called Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts. Included in the selection is Gurl, the big screen debut of producer writer and director Mika X.

GURL is deliciously immersed in the Māori Trans underworld of 1970’s New Zealand, creating not only a gritty authenticity, but also a warm tribute to friend, Carmen Rupe, NZ’s infamous Māori drag queen, pioneering brothel owner and gay rights activist. 

We’re delighted for MIKA and the roster of RBA talent who contributed to the production, including the lead, Jay Tewake, Jackie Clarke, Regan Taylor, Hannah Martin and Kasina Campbell.