How did a rural dairy farming community get to be a film buff’s dream? Arohanui Film Festival

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In the Waikato region of New Zealand, in Te Aroha (Tear A-raw-ha) a rural dairy farming community, there lies a film buff’s dream event called the ‘Arohanui Film Festival’.

The Arohanui Film Festival showcases new, entertaining, original, and adventurous films from around the world on the big screen. It will be held at ‘Future Te Aroha’, a former bra factory that has been converted to a multi purpose, non-profit facility for community and cultural use.

It’s where film enthusiasts gather for a weekend of inspiration, education, and to watch films classified for the event.

The Arohanui Film Festival was founded by prolific artist and teacher Lynne Renwick, who received the 2009 Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for her service to theatre and youth in South Auckland. 

Lynne takes us for a behind-the-curtain look at the making, history, and love of the film festival.

My name is Lynne Renwick. I have had a long history of involvement with the arts, and after moving to Te Aroha to take a break, I found myself helping to turn the former Bendon Factory into a creative community space.

‘Future Te Aroha’ was set up as a charitable trust, and  was also set up to purchase and operate the new centre.

As a creative community space operated on behalf of the community, we encourage the telling of stories through as many mediums as possible, whether it be an art project such as a mural, music, performance, or a film.

Each year the ‘Future Te Aroha’ endeavours to present a range of events to suit all ages. The Arohanui Film Festival is a natural extension of the work already taking place at the centre. There are regular performances, art works, installations, classes in acting, dance, art and film making activities. The object is to offer a range of activities to the general public, and develop skill bases across a wide range of activities. The centre also acts as a focus for the community.

What is your project right now?

Our current project is our most exciting one. The Arohanui Film Festival was launched in 2015, and has proven to be very successful. We are thrilled with the high standard of submissions, and the interesting mix of films. It has already become a talking point in town. The range of films available means there will be something of interest to the public, and with the number of Q and A sessions available, it will be a feast for filmmakers. The opportunity to talk to others and gain knowledge of the industry is definitely a plus for all concerned. There is a range of genres and exciting new releases, many of which will be premiering at the festival.

What are the next steps in your project?

The next steps will be to expand the festival to a week long, and look at using a variety of venues around town. At the same time, become a destination festival, filling the town with filmmakers, and film aficianados. Film makers will have an opportunity to showcase their work, and share their experiences. As a longstanding supporter of the creative process, the future promises one of development and excitement for ‘Future Te Aroha’. It endeavours  to empower others to succeed and follow their dreams in all aspects of the arts.

Bring on the Film Festival.

To find out more about the Arohanui Film Festival event:

Follow Arohanui Film Festival on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Image credits:

Photos are sourced with kind permission from Arohanui Film Festival (2016):

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Interested in events, workshops, seminars and courses that are being currently offered? You can find them here at

Who is Tracey

Kia ora, my name is Tracey. I <3 technology, community (not-for-profit) and education/learning opportunities. I’m keen to learn, help, share, support and connect - so feel free to catch up with me on Twitter @askgadgetgirl

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