Disney dreams big with Māori and new exhibition to celebrate women

by Taroi Black

Wahine Toa on horseback.

Māori photographers have collaborated with The Walt Disney company to celebrate real-life women and girls.

The initiative is called Disney’s Dream Big, Princess Photo Exhibition.

Qiane Matata-Sipu (Te Waiohua) is one of the four photographers representing New Zealand in the exhibition that tells unique stories of girls from Aotearoa.

“It’s a great opportunity to have indigenous kōhine and kōtiro on the international stage aligned with Disney. But also to amplify them and the mahi that they do.”

“One of them being Mereana Wairua is a 7-year-old CEO that looks at recycling the inner tubes of bikes to make raukura earrings with her mum. The other rōpū is Ngā Hinepūkōrero, four spoken word poets who are just phenomenal and share kōrero and creativity around wāhine and Māori and kaupapa Māori.

“What I would love to see is more of our own creators, more of our own graphic designers and artists and illustrators get involved so we can be creating and making these things ourselves.”

The project coincides with The Power of Inclusion summit at Aotea Centre which highlights diversity and inclusion in the screen industry.

New Zeraland Film Commission CEO Annabelle Sheehan, “It’s really about telling our stories to the world, telling Māori New Zealanders telling stories to the world whatever stories it maybe they are told in a special way I think is unique to New Zealand so yes that’s the kind of place that we want to go with this conference.”

The Dream Big, Princess Photography campaign aims to promote leadership development for young women across the board.

The Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand, Managing Director Kylie Watson-Wheeler says, “We’re delighted for this one-of-a-kind photo exhibition to be part of the important voices around the power of inclusion. We are proud that the exhibition contributes to, and celebrates, the positive impact of strong female role models around the world.”

*This story first appeared on Māori Television’s website and has been republished on Stuff with permission

This article was first published here.