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Maori film students to visit National Dong Hwa University as they journey to Taiwan to retrace their ancient roots

Assistance sought to support their discoveries and their efforts to build bridges for film and television cooperation between Taiwan and New Zealand.

Taipei, Taiwan - November 25, 2013 - On December 3rd, 2013, a delegation of Maori film students and guest speakers from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) will cross thousands of kilometers of Pacific Ocean to return to the place that is speculated to be the homeland of their ancient ancestors. They will experience the culture of the indigenous tribes of the island of Taiwan, much of which is similar to their traditional Maori culture. The Maori delegation will participate in the Tap Root Cultural Exchange Program with several universities and partners in Taiwan. There will be film projects that are produced from this experience, and more people in New Zealand will become aware of this cultural connection.

On Thursday, December 12, 2013, the Maori group will visit one of the important partners for the program, National Dong Hwa University. They will stay until Sunday, December 15 to participate in activities and to explore the beauty of the area. The activities will include a International Youth Night exchange of culture. Students from the University will share the cultures of Taiwan and various countries with the visitors. There will also guest speakers and a workshop to share ideas for cooperation. The event will also share culture through the Austronesian Film Festival, which includes indigenous films from New Zealand and Taiwan.

"There is something even more important than any films that may come out of the exchange trip," says Gary Smoke, Director of the ATAYAL organization, "The Tap Root Cultural Exchange Program will lay the groundwork to film and television cooperation between Taiwan and New Zealand, and ultimately pave the way for more indigenous tourism and trade as well."

The exchange program includes the International Indigenous Film and Television Forum where new ideas and solutions are generated for cooperation between Maori and Taiwanese indigenous filmmakers. The cooperation between the Maori and the indigenous peoples of Taiwan has been mandated by the ANZTEC agreement, a free trade agreement signed between Taiwan and New Zealand in July 2013. In addition, indigenous people in Taiwan who have the opportunity to exchange culture and ideas with the Maori will have an irreplaceable learning experience that can only come from face-to-face contact with their distant cousins.

The ATAYAL organization in the USA and its sister organization in Taiwan, the Austronesian Cultural and Economic Cooperation Association Preparatory Committee (ACECA) are working together to promote cooperation between Taiwan, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and the Native American tribes. As well as developing media cooperation projects, these organizations will develop indigenous tourism and trade projects.

These volunteer organizations have recently launched their fundraising campaign to generate support for the exchange program. They seek donations as well as new volunteers. People can make donations at

For Press Inquiries, please contact the ATAYAL Organization by clicking here or call (407) 459-7766.

Maori film students

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