Taika Waititi

Waititi, whose mother is Jewish, is now one of New Zealand’s best known filmmakers. He is a director, writer, and actor with independent hits like “Boy” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” as well as Hollywood blockbusters like “Thor: Ragnarok” under his belt.

Earlier this year, he won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his 2019 film “Jojo Rabbit”. His nomination for “Jojo Rabbit” was not his first: he originally came to prominence for his 2004 short film “Two Cars, One Night”, which was also nominated for an Academy Award.

Over the years, Waititi has won critical accolades and a host of international film industry awards for his work. In 2017 he was named New Zealander of the Year in 2017.

It was recently announced that he will be directing the next Star Wars film. He’s also scheduled to direct the follow-up to “Thor Ragnark” – “Thor: Love and Thunder”.

David Zwartz

Zwartz was President of the New Zealand Jewish Council from 1998 to 2005 and is currently the chair of the Wellington Jewish Council. Additionally, for five years – when there was no Israeli Ambassador in New Zealand – he acted as the Honorary Consul of Israel.

He has been a spokesperson and advocate for the Jewish community at many levels since the 1980s and has also long been active in the fight against antisemitism.

That has included facilitating the annual United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Wellington, volunteering with the Holocaust Centre since its establishment in 2007, and contributing to Holocaust education directly as a writer and presenter.

Zwartz was an editor and on the editorial board of the former New Zealand Jewish Chronicle and a presenter of Jewish programmes on community radio since 1982. He was one of the group of faith leaders who founded the Wellington Interfaith Council, as well as establishing the National Interfaith Forums in 2003.

But Zwartz told Radio NZ that his work is not over. “It’s really an ongoing task to bring people together – to explain to each other about their faiths and how their beliefs also go towards making a more harmonious New Zealand society.”