Victoria University of Wellington

02/23/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/22/2017 16:26

Distinguished alumnus named New Zealander of the year

Victoria University of Wellington is proud to congratulate Taika Waititi, a Victoria graduate, on being named 2017 New Zealander of the year.

Taika graduated from Victoria with a Bachelor of Arts in 1997 and was presented with a Victoria Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011, recognising the international following he has gained in his career as a film director, writer, comedian and actor.

His films' evocative and unique expression of New Zealand's culture and identity are acclaimed at home and around the world. His short and feature films have broken box-office records and garnered international attention at events such as the Sundance Film Festival and Academy Awards.

New Zealand of the Year Awards Chief Judge Cameron Bennett, says Taika is an exciting and inspiring example of being a Kiwi.

'Creative, courageous, audacious, subversive and downright funny, he's at the forefront of New Zealand filmmaking and the arts.

'Taika's outstanding contribution has not only been rewarded with record box-office success at home-he's also been highly successful in showcasing who and what we are to the world.

'His films represent the importance of whanau, of belonging and the challenges facing youth at the margins of society.'