Entertainment | Film

Rūrangi wins International Emmy for short form series

An Aotearoa-made TV series has received international recognition, with Rūrangi winning this year's International Emmy for Short Form Series.

Rūrangi wins award at International Emmys. Credit: YouTube / internationalemmys

The New Zealand transgender five-episode series, which doubles as a feature film, tells the story of activist Caz Davis (Elz Carrad) who returns to his small conservative Northland home town of Rūrangi after being away for 10 years. In that time Davis has transitioned and returns to the fictional town to reconnect with his estranged father.

The cast includes Āwhina Rose Henare Ashby, Kirk Torrance and Ramon Te Wake to name a few. Ten of the 24-strong cast identify as gender-diverse, with all trans characters performed by trans actors. It was created by Oliver Page and Cole Meyers.

Tweedie Waititi, of Matewa Media, which is responsible for producing Māori-dubbed versions of Disney animated films, joined Rūrangi as co-producer.

Māori musician Rob Ruha took to Facebook last night to congratulate his cousin Waititi and the Rūrangi cast and crew for "smashing it on the world stage".

Rob Ruha sings his praises for Rūrangi. Credit: Facebook / Rob Ruha. 

It debuted at the NZ International Film Festival in July 2020, and was viewed internationally in San Francisco in September of the same year, winning the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.

It's also been shown at the BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and the Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival. It was later released in New Zealand cinemas in 2021.