Film director named New Zealand’s ‘Migrant of the year’

Highly-acclaimed Kiwi film director Dana Rotberg has been named ‘Migrant of the Year’ at the recent inaugural New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment (NZAMI) awards.

Dana Rotberg Film Director


Rotberg had already established herself as an acclaimed film director in her native Mexico before moving to New Zealand in 2004 to “seek a better life for herself and her daughter.” She had been inspired to move to NZ after watching the 2002 film Whale Rider, the story of a 12-year-old Maori girl who wants to become chief of her tribe.

The director’s latest film White Lies (Tuakiri Huna) has just been nominated as New Zealand’s entry in the Academy Awards’ foreign-language category. The Maori-language film is based on a novella written by Whale Rider author Witi Ihimaera.

“She [Rotberg] has made a unique contribution to New Zealand by creating this new film which honours the cultural heritage of this country,” explained June Ranson, vice-chair of NZAMI at the awards ceremony. “The way Dana has embraced not only the languages but also the culture of this country is simply remarkable,” she added.

In addition to the Migrant of the Year award, prizes were also handed out in a number of other categories, including Immigration Adviser of Lawyer of the Year and Award for Community Outreach.