"Whakapapa is probably the only Maori word that everyone in New Zealand knows. The essential meaning of the word is "family," but it has a much greater resonance for the Maori people, going back to their geneology and ancestry, and a link to the land. There's a Maori belief that their family came from the land. So Whakapapa suggests the intrinsic link between your family, your history, your ancestry, and the very earth that you come from."
Born in Auckland, Gregor Nicholas (writer/director) has emerged as one of the leading directors of New Zealand's buoyant film industry. After a trip to New York City, where Nicholas watched and studied numerous underground films, he returned to New Zealand and began making his own experimental underground films. One of these short films, "Pacific 3,2,1, Zero," won Nicholas the Croisette d'Or Grand Prix, the international music industry's equivalent to the Palm d'Or, at the 1994 Cannes Music Film Awards. Most recently, Nicholas' short film "Avondale Dogs" highlighted his ability to elicit inspired and delicately nuanced performances from his cast. The film's poignant evocation of 1960's New Zealand life has won awards and acclaim at the Venice, Chicago, Melbourne, Mannheim, Telluride and other film festivals. Nicholas is also one of the most sought after commercial directors working in new Zealand today and his contribution to New Zealand film was recognized in 1993 when he was awarded the Moet & Chandon Residency in Epernay, France. He is currently preparing "Mississippi Mud," which will be produced on the U.S. by Barbara DeFina and Martin Scorsese.