Renae Maihi

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Renae Maihi
Renae Maihi 008.jpg
Auckland, New Zealand
OccupationDirector, writer and producer
Years active2010–present

Renae Maihi is a New Zealand film director and screenwriter.[1][2] Her short films include Mannahatta and Ka Puta Ko Au, and her first feature film, Waru, was released in 2017.[3][4] In 2018, she launched a petition to strip Bob Jones of his knighthood, and Jones in turn took her to the High Court for defamation, but later withdrew the case.[5][6][7]

Life and career[edit]

Maihi was born in Auckland, New Zealand. She is Māori of Ngāpuhi and Te Arawa descent.[2]

Maihi made her writing debut with Nga Manurere in 2009.[8] In 2010, she made her screenwriting debut with short film, Redemption, which premiered at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.[9] Her play, Patua, won Adam NZ Playwrights award for best play by a Maori Playwright 2013.[10] She subsequently wrote and directed the short film, Butterfly (Purerehua), funded by the New Zealand Film Commission.[11] During 2015, she worked on series 2 of My Kitchen Rules NZ as a regional contestant coordinator.[12] In 2015, her short film, Mannahatta, premiered at ImagineNATIVE Film Festival in Toronto.[13] Manhatta was later selected as a finalist for "Best Short Film" at the New Zealand International Film Festival.[14]

Maihi's feature film, Waru, which she co-wrote and co-directed in collaboration with 8 other Māori women filmmakers.[15] Waru was made up of a series of vignettes which addressed the widespread issue of child abuse in New Zealand.[16][17] The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival,[18] won the audience award at Seattle International Film Festival and the grand jury award for an outstanding international narrative feature at the 34th Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Los Angeles.[19][20] It was also screened at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival.[21]

In 2018, she was awarded the NZFC Maori Screen Excellence Award and Whakapapa Film Festival of Italy Award.[22] Her films were screened as part of a retrospective on Māori filmmakers at Auckland's first Māori Film Week and the New Zealand International Film Festival.[23][21]

Bob Jones v Renae Maihi[edit]

For Waitangi Day in 2018, Bob Jones wrote an opinion piece calling for an annual "Māori Gratitude Day", where among other things he suggested that Māori serve breakfast in bed to Europeans as Māori owe their existence to British migrants. The opinion piece was published in the National Business Review on 2 February and caused so much outrage that it was soon deleted from their website.[24] In response, Maihi started a petition calling for Bob to be stripped of his knighthood (received as a Knight Bachelor in the 1989 Queen's Birthday Honours) and on 27 March 2018, the petition (with then 68,000 signatures) was presented to parliament and received by MPs Kiri Allan and Willie Jackson.[25] In a seven to four majority decision in April 2018, the New Zealand Media Council did not uphold a complaint about the opinion piece, but noted that the National Business Review's decision to no longer publish columns by Jones was an "appropriate response to the justified public outrage".[26][27]

In June 2018, Jones filed defamation papers with the Wellington High Court, seeking a ruling that the language used in Maihi's petition defamed him.[28] Also in June 2018, community campaigner Laura O'Connell Rapira started a crowdfunding campaign for Maihi's legal costs.[29] The court hearing was set for 10 to 21 February 2020.[5] In his initial cross examination, Jones admitted that he had never read the petition that he claims defames him.[30]

On 14 February, 2020 Jones withdrew the case.[31]


Year Title Writer Director Producer Note
2010 Redemption Green tickY Short Film
2013 Butterfly (Purerehua) Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Short Film
2015 Mannahatta Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Short Film
2016 Ka Puta, Ko Au Green tickY Green tickY Short Film
2017 Waru Green tickY Green tickY Feature Film


  • Nga Manurere
  • Patua


  1. ^ "Renae Maihi". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Māori filmmaker takes to Global International Film Festival Circuit". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Mannahatta". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Renae Maihi brings Māori women's voice to life in Waru". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b Hayden, Leonie (10 February 2020). "The Bob Jones v Renae Maihi 'Māori Gratitude Day' case goes to court". The Spinoff. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Sir Bob Jones' defamation claim against Renae Maihi set for hearing". Stuff. 10 February 2020. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  7. ^ Johnsen, Meriana (11 February 2020). "Sir Bob Jones didn't read petition he claims defamed him". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Review: Nga Manurere at TAPAC, Western Springs". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  9. ^ "NZ short films selected for Sundance". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  10. ^ "PATUA written & directed by Renae Maihi". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Purerehua". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  12. ^ de Graaf, Peter (23 February 2015). "Chance to show region's kitchens rule". The Northern Advocate. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Award-Winning NYFA Grad's Newest Film Tackles Native Americans' Struggle in "Mannahatta"". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  14. ^ "New Zealand Short Stories On Screen at NZIFF 2017". The Weekly Spoon. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Waru review: powerful portmanteu film - The Skinny". Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  16. ^ Pringle, Gill (22 November 2017). "Waru: Uncovering New Zealand's Epidemic of Child Abuse". FilmInk. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  17. ^ Metro. "Waru: The New Zealand film you need to see". Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  18. ^ "NZ Film WARU to Screen at Toronto International Film Festival - Vendetta News". Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  19. ^ "Waru: The nine female Maori filmmakers united in their passion to start a conversation". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Award-winning movie "Waru" plays at SIFF, elevates Maori wahine voices". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  21. ^ a b Monday; June 2018, 25; Week, 12:13 pm Press Release: Maori Film. "Best of Wairoa Māori Film Festival to Be Showcased | Scoop News". Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  22. ^ "Best of Wairoa Māori Film Festival Showcased in Auckland". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  23. ^ "Aucklanders invited to the city's first ever Māori Film Week". Māori Television. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  24. ^ "Bob Jones and NBR divorce over 'Māori Gratitude Day' column". The Spinoff. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  25. ^ Sherwood-O’Regan, Kera (28 March 2018). "The Bob Jones knighthood petition has been delivered. Will anyone listen?". The Spinoff. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  26. ^ "Sir Bob Jones 'Māori Gratitude Day' column complaint not upheld". Radio New Zealand. 6 April 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  27. ^ "Mel Whaanga against National Business Review". New Zealand Media Council. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  28. ^ "Sir Bob Jones files defamation papers against filmmaker Renae Maihi". [[Stuff (website)|]]. 7 June 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  29. ^ Hurley, Sam (18 June 2018). "Givealittle page launched for film-maker Renae Maihi's legal fees in defamation battle vs Sir Bob Jones". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  30. ^ Johnsen, Meriana (11 February 2020). "Sir Bob Jones didn't read petition he claims defamed him". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  31. ^ Johnsen, Meriana (14 February 2020). "Sir Bob Jones withdraws defamation case against filmmaker Renae Maihi". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 14 February 2020.

External links[edit]