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Vaine Toa – Warrior Women

6 – 10 August 2019

Empire Cinema, Avarua, Cook Islands 

TE KUKI AIRANI FILM FESTIVAL  | 6 – 10 August 2019

Teariki Productions presents the second year of Te Kūki ‘Āirani Film Festival. Running from 6 August to 10 August, this year's theme is Vaine Toa (Warrior Women). Over 80% of the films showing will have either a leading female cast or is written, directed and/or produced by a female filmmaker. This year's festival will showcase 6 feature films and 8 short films with 5 days of screenings at the Empire Cinema, Rarotonga.

Festival Director, Josh Teariki Baker, created the festival to provide a platform for local Kūki ‘Āirani people to tell their Pasifika stories, share what it means to be Indigenous and engage with the world on a platform that has the potential to reach global audiences.

This year, Te Kūki ‘Āirani Film Festival kicks off the beginning of the Pacific Tour of the feature film Vai. Vai is a film about female empowerment that spans the breadth of the Pacific telling the story of one woman’s life in eight separate moments from the perspective of eight different pacific island cultures; Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kūki ‘Āirani (Cook Islands), Samoa, Niue and Aotearoa (New Zealand).

The Cook Islands section was filmed here on Rarotonga in vaka Puaikura (Arorangi village). Directed and written by our very own vaine Kuki Airani, Miria George. Amidst apathy, fear and the trappings of colonialism Vai makes a stand for change on her island of Rarotonga, finding her voice as an activist.

The weeklong festival encourages international visitors, local community members, creatives and artists to come together to celebrate Indigenous storytelling.


Tuesday 6th August – Opening night - Vai Screening preceded by Our Atolls Speak.
Saturday 10th August Finale night - Pasifika / Māori Short Films

Festival Programme

Special guests and filmmakers appearing are:


  • Chelsea Winstanley – Producer of ‘Merata:  How Mum Decolonised the Screen’
  • Heperi Mita – Direct of ‘Merata:  How Mum Decolonised the Screen’
  • Bird Runningwater – Indigenous programme director – Sundance Institute
  • Vea Mafile’o – Director & Producer of ‘For my Father’s Kingdom’
  • Lisa Taouma – Director & Producer of ‘Marks of Mana’
  • Eliorah Malifa – Director of the Pasifika Film Festival (Australia)
  • Miria George – Writer & Director of Vai (Kūki ‘Āirani)
  • Taungaroa Emile – Actor in Vai (Kūki ‘Āirani) & Tama Tu
  • Evotiah-Rose Avaiti – Actor in Vai (Kūki ‘Āirani)
  • Sharlene George – Producer of Hinekura & Founder of the Sweet Shop
  • Becs Arahanga – Director of Vai & Hinekura
  • Kath Akuhata-Brown – Producer of Hinekura
  • Hone Kouka – Writer & Cofounder - Tawata Productions

Download the full festival programme here
Vai Trailer

To view all of the film trailers visit Te Kūki ‘Āirani Film Festival (@TKAFF) Facebook page. 
Book your tickets today: [email protected]


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