Cinco Cine

Cinco Cine

Cinco Cine’s Makaira Berry, Marama Gardiner, Nicole Hoey, Faye Schmidt-Peke and Turanga Kereopa at the Māori Screen Awards
Photo credit: Todd Karehana

At the recent Māori Screen Awards Nicole Hoey’s Cinco Cine took the NZ On Air Award for contribution to capacity building and bringing in new talent, Te Pou Taunaki.

Hoey (Ngāti Kahu, Te Aupōuri) sat down with Crewed shortly after the awards, and talked about the journey so far. She originally set up Cinco Cine in 1987 as a production house to create and produce television commercials.

By the time Cinco Cine began to produce TV programmes, it was already using some online tools to service its TV productions, and to share rushes. Those old enough to remember dial-up will understand what an undertaking that was. That early adoption of digital tools is paying dividends, not only in production terms but also in the company’s willingness to use other online tools such as social media to support its shows and the communities around them.

Most widely-known for its programming for tamariki and rangatahi, especially the long-running Pūkana, Cinco Cine has also turned out a good amount of reality and drama programming over the years.

Early on the company made drama Dead Certs, which put Rawiri Paratene into one of very few Māori lead roles on TV’s main channels (and there were only the main channels back in the 1990s). Paratene co-wrote Dead Certs with Ian Mune, who also directed. Shot by Waka Attewell, the piece also included turns from the late Ian Watkin and Judy Bailey (as herself).

The company’s most recent one-off drama was Kawa, based on Witi Ihimaera’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain, and made with Christina Milligan’s Conbrio Media. (Milligan was also a winner at the Māori Screen Awards, for Kim Webby’s The Price of Peace.)

At the hui, Hoey made the point that telefeature Kawa was Katie Wolfe’s last major outing as a director. Little wonder there was a warm welcome for the NZFC’s introduction at the event of the Ramai Hayward Scholarship, which will support Māori wahine to get feature scripts to a production-ready stage.



Running through Cinco Cine’s work is a kaupapa of commitment to te reo Māori. Some of the company’s output is specifically education or edutainment programming to help kids become more competent and confident in its use, such as Kōrero Mai and Pūkana; some focuses on Māori culture including Haka for TV3’s documentary strand Inside New Zealand and Kapa Haka Super 12, also for TV3.

The company produces some content in te reo Māori, including the dubbed Spongebob Squarepants episodes commissioned for 2009’s Māori Language Week.

All of that forms part of the capacity building for which Cinco Cine was awarded, but its work in that area isn’t restricted to the product. It also extends to the process, what’s going on behind the camera.

Naturally for te reo shows including Pūkana, currently in its 17th year, the company is engaging te reo speakers. But back when Cinco Cine started on it, Hoey said, “We made a decision then to employ crew who were bilingual if at all possible.”

The language skill was reflected in people’s pay packets, with Cinco Cine paying a supplement to its bi-lingual crew members. “It’s not always been easy but we’ve stuck with it.”

Hoey notes that finding bilingual entry-level crew has become quite a bit easier since South Seas established its reo department.

It’s good to hear someone speak well of tertiary institutions efforts to prepare people for the industry, as there are so many occasions when they’re criticised for the large number of would-be directors they turn out compared with the negligible number of people wanting to play other roles. Hoey does celebrate what Cinco Cine has managed to achieved by creating opportunities, saying, “We’re proud to say that every one of our trainee editors has been bilingual.”

Korero Mai

Korero Mai