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Justine Simei-Barton

Porirua-born Justine Simei-Barton formed the Pacific Theatre company in 1987, while doing a Bachelor of Arts in Auckland. It was the first of its kind in Aotearoa. Later she directed three episodes of pioneering Pasifika drama series Tala Pasifika, then turned one of them, Matou Oma, into another breakthrough showcase of Pasifika talent. Good Hands: Lima Lelei  — about a South Auckland netball team — was nominated for Best Drama at the 2005 NZ Screen Awards. Simei-Barton spent seven years trying to get it made. Two of her shorts have competed at the Berlin Film Festival: The Trophy, and Snow in Paradise (co-directed with Nikki Si'ulepa).

The creative process brought my soul to life, and that was the deciding factor. Justine Simei-Barton on deciding to leave law studies behind after staging a hit play, The NZ Herald, 15 November 2007