‘Fun and Freedom’? Kaupapa Māori Approaches in the 48 Hour Film Competition
48-Hour Film Competitions give people with a range of film-making experience a forum where their film can be made and screened in a short time in a sport-like arena (Mercier 2014), and the competition supports a wide range of motivations for participating (Mercier and Wilson 2013). While some of the films produced in this contest are worthy of analysis, our research is more concerned with the experiences of film-makers in this forum. As two Māori 48 Hour film-makers ourselves, we applied kaupapa Māori research principles to our interviews and audio commentaries with Aotearoa New Zealand competition participants. This article describes our motivation, rationale and methodology for exploring peoples’ experiences in the competition and shares responses from nine participants who identify as Māori, regarding their own and their teams’ ‘kaupapa Māori’ ways of working within the competition weekend. Our methodology as participant-observers encouraged frank exchanges regarding the challenges from the largely mainstream culture of the competition. Nonetheless we found that participants exhibited autonomy over their goals, process and product during the weekend and the freedom to exhibit not only their Māoritanga, but ‘syncretic cultural practices’ (Smith 2012, 44) that liberate and enable practictioners to retain a playful attitude towards the competition.
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