Aotearoa Moving Portraits Charitable Trust

Imagine a portrait by a famous artist. Now imagine that portrait speaking to you, telling you amazing stories of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Aotearoa Moving Portraits is about capturing the rich heritage of Aotearoa’s melting pot of people, Tangata Whenua, Pākeha, Asian, particularly our kaumātua and older populace who have much to leave us. We value their legacy and Aotearoa Moving Portraits will commit that legacy to film in a uniquely accessible manner, as a portrait to hang in a gallery, and therefore posterity.

Aotearoa Moving Portraits, a curated public exhibition of cinematic portraits, made freely available to all of Aotearoa New Zealand.

How it began

The initial project concept was formed when I began documenting the colourful life of my partner’s 91-year-old grandmother, Lorna, back in 2014. From growing up during the depression to working in the army on radar during the Second World War. This video interview series was to ensure the family had a testimony of her personal history and were able to recount significant moments – all shared in her own voice.

I was unable to complete the interviews as she died before we had concluded the filming. At this time, I was struck by the tremendous loss. To lose all the precious stories that remained undocumented.

One particular story she recalled was bidding her fiancé goodbye at Wellington Harbour as he left to join the war in Italy. The film was included as part of her memorial service and had people acknowledging their own elderly relatives or interesting elderly friends who had equally wonderful stories. People commented that some stories were funny, some sad and some harrowing but each of them should be documented before these people passed

This was a lightbulb moment and the concept for Aotearoa Moving Portraits was formed.

Sean Woollgar, Filmmaker, Carterton, Wairarapa, Aotearoa, February 2022

So what’s your story?

Do you have a story to tell? If so email your details and summary of your story to