Of Ngāti Raukawa ki te tonga, Te Atiawa, and Ngāti Toa Rangatira descent, Libby Hakaraia started in radio journalism in NZ before spending 7 years with the ABC in Sydney. On her return home Libby co hosted the Māori magazine programme WHENUA! on National Radio. Libby partnered with Rhonda Kite to form Kiwa Productions and together they made more than a dozen documentaries and series for TV1, TV3 and Māori Television. Libby set up Blue Bach Productions Ltd in 2003 and moved home to Ōtaki on the Kapiti Coast.
Since then she has produced or directed documentaries, entertainment series and several award winning short films. With her husband Tainui Stephens and her whanau Libby decided it was time to bring the world to Ōtaki and set up New Zealand annual Indigenous International film festival, Māoriland in 2014.
Māoriland Film Festival is now a must attend on the international indigenous film festival circuit and this year hosted 61 international filmmakers and festival directors from Sundance, Berlin, Tampere, Toronto as well as industry including the Sami Film Institute. With an estimated audience of 12,500 people over the 5 days of films and events Māoriland has expanded into year round activities out of a much loved former department store. The Māoriland Hub is operating year round training the next generation of Māori screen storytellers and Libby is also managing to make films herself. She has just directed the NZFC funded short film The Gravedigger of Kapu shot on her marae in Ōtaki which is making its way around the festivals after its world premiere in Toronto last month.