Film Bay of Plenty
Creative Kōrero, Visual Arts

Film Bay of Plenty celebrates 11 inspirational women in the Bay of Plenty screen industry

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Film Bay of Plenty will be celebrating through their social media channels the achievements of 11 inspirational Bay of Plenty women who work in the screen industry.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is #Embrace Equity. The campaign is an initiative to make the world sit up and notice that talking about equality is no longer enough. Equity means creating an inclusive world and we can all truly embrace it.

Read more about International Women’s Day here.


Every year, March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day. While one doesn’t require just one day to celebrate women and the many hurdles they face daily including sexism, it is definitely a good opportunity to shed light on those who are not only working hard but also paving the way in their respective fields for other women to follow.

Film Bay of Plenty asked for nominations and received 11. These women all work either in the Bay of Plenty or whakapapa back to the region. They all recognize the need for embracing equity through their work and achievements.


Ainsley Gardiner, Director /Producer

Alyssa Stringfellow Screenwriter/Actor

Claire Varley, Director /Producer

Emma Power, Screenwriter/ Producer

Kim Webby, Documentary Maker, Journalist

Kimiora Kaire-Melbourne, Director /Producer

Phillida Perry, Producer/ Screenwriter

Piata Gardiner-Hoskins Director/Producer

Rosalie Liddle Crawford Screenwriter/Producer

Tanya Horo, Actors Agency/ Training

Tia Smith, Production


Ainsley Gardener, Director/ Producer Ngāti Awa, of Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti  Pikiao and Whakatōhea tribal descent, is interested in the ways in which processes inherited from a Hollywood system can be disrupted to make space for inherently Māori processes such as flattening the hierarchy of film and collaborating meaningfully through co-direction, co-written and even co-cinematography.

Alyssa Stringfellow is a multi-talented writer and actor who is passionate about using her voice to bring awareness to the challenges of infertility and IVF. Alyssa is dedicated to spreading awareness about the challenges of infertility and IVF. Her latest project, “Fried Eggs,” is a TV series script based on her own experiences with IVF, which she hopes to develop and bring to life. “Fried Eggs” is a TV series that follows a woman’s emotional journey through IVF. This compelling drama sheds light on the challenges of infertility and offers a message of hope to those facing similar struggles.

Claire Varley is a visionary filmmaker driven by her passion for storytelling and her commitment to giving voice to underrepresented communities. As the co-founder of Ten Canaries, Claire has already made waves with her creation of Stolen Lands, a documentary series that exposes the devastating impact of colonization on indigenous communities, beginning with the story of Chief Mokomoko.

Emma Power is currently working on a TV comedy series entitled Pākehā Ha, and is in the final stages of completing her first feature ‘Lady Mariner’ based on the true story of her great grandmother Kate Tyrell who was the first Irish woman to captain a ship and fought for ten years to have the law changed in order to rightfully own her own shipping company in the late 19th century.

Kim Webby, documentary maker, Ōpōtiki: “Early on, I was a journalist, so the appearance of equity was essential. Reporting must be impartial with equal weight given to each side.  At some point in the 1990s, I realised that equity didn’t exist.” Kim made it her kaupapa to pursue equity of the voices overlooked and has worked on a number of documentaries to bring their stories alive.

Kimiora Kaire-Melbourne is a young Māori producer/director who is passionate about sharing Māori stories from a distinctly Māori worldview. Through storytelling, she strives to empower and celebrate the Māori culture and language.

Phillida Perry has a screen company called Daughter which is dedicated to uncovering the hidden voices who have big and real stories to tell, locally, and from across the globe. Her most recent film MS INFORMATION is about to be released and is a film about pink-haired microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles and her wild ride helping New Zealand through the pandemic. Siouxsie was adored and loathed in equal measure. MS INFORMATION tracks the rabbit holes and rising abuse Siouxsie got during Covid, revealing the depths of misogyny and misinformation in New Zealand. Phillida questions “why men in leadership positions just don’t get the same level of threat as women. Why is that?”

Piata Gardiner-Hoskins (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāpuhi). “Much of her work is inspired by the strong resilient wahine in her whānau, history, connection to people, the environment and Te Reo Māori. She was just eleven when she interviewed her kuia about her experiences at school. It started with the pipi sandwhiches but then she would share with Piata the reality of being a Māori kid in the 40s when to speak Māori you would be punished with the cane. That moment sitting with tape in hand, feeling a great sense sadness and pride all at once for her people has influenced her in many ways. She would eventually develop a passion for storytelling through film and television. Stories that speak to the heart of her culture and place in this world.”

Rosalie Liddle Crawford is passionate about seeing others telling their stories in film and helped initiate a screen writers group during the 2020 lockdown. Rosalie is currently co-producing a feature documentary titled ‘Taking Back our Beach’ that captures the community response to the Rena disaster in 2011. She had been researching and working towards the film since 2014, and collaborated with Brian and Claire Rogers from Sun Media and filmmaker Anton Steel to bring the project to fruition.

Tia Smith: As a proud queer wāhine māori, Tia believes that everyone has the right to thrive and succeed, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, ability, or any other aspect of their identity. She sees it as an obligation for all of us to create a society where these opportunities are available to all.

Tanya Horo, Actors Agency and Training school, Tauranga: “I have been in this industry as an actress, a writer, creator, agent and acting coach and I’ve seen so many changes in the way we work and operate here in NZ and now on a global scale.”

Kim Webby: “Thanks to Whakaata Māori, changes within our other national broadcasters and the breadth of new platforms, there are new opportunities to create equity and equality in storytelling. Currently exciting pan-Asian storytellers are bringing their stories to the world.”


Read more about these influential women on Film Bay of Plenty’s social media channels from the 8-10 March: Instagram and Facebook.

Creative Kōrero, Visual Arts

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