CIRCUIT is delighted to announce that Leo Koziol (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rakaipaaka) will continue as Matariki Curator for 2023, following his successful tenure in this role last year. 

This will be the fourth year in which CIRCUIT commissions an artist to make a new video work in response to Matariki, which will premiere on Masons Screen in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington in July. Leo is in the process of selecting this year’s artist, with further details to follow soon. 

In 2022, Leo curated the commission by Suzanne Tamaki (Ngāti Maniapoto, Tūhoe). This resulted in the work Manu does Matariki (2022)—an extension of Tamaki’s Talking Taonga series in which the iconic Manu, the fantastic plastic Māori, is presented wearing a designer Matariki frock.

Leo is founder and director of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival. It is the longest-running indigenous film festival of New Zealand and takes place annually during Matariki in a traditional marae. Leo worked as cultural advisor in the Ministry of Maori Development and is co-curator of Ngā Whanaunga Shorts at the Whānau Mārama NZ International Film Festival. He also curates for various film festivals in Canada, Italy, Polynesia, the United States and Australia. Since 2020, he has been the indigenous editor of Letterboxd. With over 3 million members. Letterboxd is the leading social network for movie buffs and cinema fans alike.

CIRCUIT’s annual Matariki commission was introduced in 2020 and demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to celebrating the diversity of perspectives in moving image practice in Aotearoa. The programme has supported the creation of new film works by artists that have gone on to be included in the important, iterative exhibition Māori Moving Image (various locations, 2019-2022). As curators Melanie Oliver and Bridget Reweti write in their introduction to the exhibition catalogue: “A key strength of moving image is how it operates in contemporary culture; mobile in nature, readily responsive and able to portray the diverse life experience and perspective of being Māori. It is the tangible viewing of potential that arises from Te Kore and bursts forth into Te Ao Mārama.”

In 2021, the commission was awarded to artist Kauri Wharewera (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Tūhoe, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu) and curated by Israel Randall (Tainui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Cook Islands). The resulting work Te Kahui o Matariki (2021), a digital animation of tukutuku patterns, was included in Māori Moving Image ki Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu (2022).

The inaugural commission by Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka (Ngati Pakau, Ngapuhi), Kōhatu Tipua (2020) combined images of seabird migration with digital weaving and mōteatea (song poetry, traditionally chanted) to acknowledge ancestral migration and the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. She says, “Matariki is a time of renewal, my ancestors would use this time in winter to take stock and plan pathways for the following seasons. ... This Matariki, coming out of our globally shared experience of a pandemic, we find ourselves in a strange communal space, taking stock and navigating new pathways forward to benefit a different future from the time before.”

CIRCUIT looks forward to the new pathways and possibilities of the 2023 commission. 

CIRCUIT is the
leading voice
for artist moving image
in Aotearoa New Zealand,
distributing works,
critical review and
which reflect our unique, contemporary
South Pacific context.