About us

About us

AKOAKO is an independent production company of volunteers based in Wellington, New Zealand. As a non-profit, we use our own resources to help marginalised groups within our society have a voice by documenting and sharing what they have to say about themselves, their connection with their ancestral past and where they hope to go as a collective.

Check out the video below to follow the crew on one of our missions.Synopsis: Many children of our lighthouse keepers died in the harsh living conditions, such as at Pencarrow (Lower Hutt, Wellington), New Zealand’s first permanent lighthouse. We are looking for the grave of Evelyn, a 6-year-old who lived in this isolated landscape with her parents. Also lost to time is the grave of a 3-year-old. Although buried in the same general area, her grave markers are gone. We are shooting a scene for our cultural film project, Lost Graves. We were fortunate to get a calm, sunny day as normally it’s gale-force winds. Thank you Lower Hutt City Council for  your help!

Our Objectives

Give everyone a voice

by covering a diversity of subjects representative of New Zealand’s demographics.

Explore the human experience

by focusing on what it means to be a Kiwi living today.

Promote growth

by helping people look at themselves and expand their worldview.

Promote Connectivity

by showing we are not just part of our immediate communities, but a part of a national identity.

Celebrate our uniqueness

by reflecting who we are by looking at how we got here.

Explore our place

by looking at what roles we play as part of a global community.

Core Team

Marguerite Renaud (BSocSci, BSci, MA)

Marguerite Renaud (BSocSci, BSci, MA)

Producer/Director, Camera Operator, Film and Video Editor

I bought my first camera in 1998 and became an enthusiastic snapper of anything that moved. By 2001 I had a video camera, yes with tape, and filmed by way through the Middle East.

Always interest in the human experience, I completed my qualifications in psychology and fully immersed myself in exploring its many aspects by engaging with people form all walks of life. This honed by ability to listen for the subtle undercurrents of how people perceive the world around them.

Whilst the technology continues to leap fearlessly forward, so too does by passion to use these advancements to stretch the bounders of story telling. This led me to becoming a post-production software nut in order to combine audio and visual elements to create emotionally powerful material. Fast forward a few years and I now employ my camera and post-production skills to also take on the role of Director. Nothing is static in filming, its the ultimate challenge of leadership skills in a multifaceted interplay of people and technology.

Warwick Johnston

Warwick Johnston

Researcher, Script Writer, Author

A published author, I have made New Zealand history the focus of my working career as well as my spare time. Why? – because history is inescapable as it connects things through time. For instance: we speak languages that are inherited from our past. We live in a society with complex cultures, traditions and religions that have not been created on the spur of the moment. We use technologies that we have not personally invented. And each individual is born with a personal variant of an inherited genetic template, which has evolved during the entire life-span of the human species. So understanding the linkages between past and present is absolutely basic for a good understanding being a New Zealander – of being human.

Dawn Chambers

Dawn Chambers

Researcher, Genealogist

A fascination with family history was sparked at an early age by being exposed during the formative years to ‘ancient’ documents, fantastic photographs and various physical items that belonged to my grandmother. In time this grew into a passion for learning about New Zealand’s manuscript records and sharing it via the internet in the form of indexes, record descriptions and transcripts. As a voluntary researcher time is usually spent hammering away at brick walls of one form or another. The process often brings to light relatively unknown record sources and reveals new research paths for others to follow. The aim is to enable researchers to enrich their writings by adding to what is known of New Zealand history. There is so much more to learn and discover…

Visit Dawn’s research site: www.nzpictures.co.nz

Allan Hartshorne

Allan Hartshorne

Production Sound Mixer, Sound Editor, Composer

I picked up a guitar early in childhood and discovered the freedom of self expression through writing my own music. Thirty years later and I have added to my collection of guitars some what, and moved to powerful software solutions such as Avid Pro Tools. I have passion for audio and believe a film is only as good as the sound recording during production and the post production expertise afterwards. I enjoy being part of a crew with a shared vision of using the full sonic landscape to amplify the final story shared with the audience. If I can’t move my audience and take then on the journey with the sound track alone, then I’ve failed.