Profile image for Rhonda Kite

Rhonda Kite

Producer [Te Aupouri]

Rhonda Kite, who heads company Kiwa Media, has worked as a producer on many documentaries, as well as anthology series Mataku and feature-length doco Squeegee Bandit.

Kite's first gig as producer was Ōtara - Defying the Odds, which won a NZ Television award for best Māori Programme in 1999. Directed by Haunui Royal, the programme followed eight success stories from Ōtara, working to break down stereotypes about the suburb. Two further documentaries from the Kite/Royal team would be nominated in the same category in 2002: cross-cultural adoption documentary Someone Else's Child and The Truth about Māori.

Soon after, Kite established Kiwa Media Group. The company began by translating overseas cartoons into Māori — the job led to Kiwa developing VoiceQ. The specialised post-production software aids dubbing and dialogue recording, offering scrolling text on a screen as actors work in the studio. Kite is VoiceQ’s president. The company's products have sold globally, while at home VoiceQ is the biggest provider of dubbed television in New Zealand.  

In 2004 Kiwa launched long-running TV series Kete Aronui. Made for Māori Television, the half-hour show profiles a wide range of Māori artists, as they talk about their work, lives and aspirations. Kite has also produced docos on the Māori practice of Whāngai, in which babies aren't raised by their birth parents, historical Pākehā who embraced a Māori way of life, and children's perspectives on gangs.

Won over by a short promo, Kite signed on to co-produce Sandor Lau's documentary Squeegee Bandit. This portrait of a charismatic Māori windscreen cleaner went on to win a number of awards, including NZ's Best Digital Feature of 2006.

By 2009 Kiwa had begun applying its post-production skills to digital publishing, creating ”interactive, multilingual” books for touchscreen devices like the iPad and iPhone. The company's 'QBook', developed using the VoiceQ software, now forms the lion's share of its business. In late 2011 a group of Kiwi-based Chinese investors took a 25 per cent stake in Kiwa.

In 2015 Kite relocated to the United Arab Emirates, as Chief Executive of new start-up Kiwa Middle East.  

Named North and South's 2007 New Zealander of the Year in the It and Communications section, and Māori Business Woman of 2002, Kite has spent time on the executive of Spada, Māori filmmaker's organisation Ngā Aho Whakaari, and as a board member of NZ On Air. In 2018 she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for 'services to media technology, television and film'. 

Updated on 5 June 2018 

Sources include
Rhonda Kite
Kiwa Digital website. Accessed 5 June 2018
VoiceQ website (broken link). Accessed 4 November 2013
Jazial Crossley, 'Digital book firm eyes expansion' (Interview) Stuff website. Loaded 5 October 2011. Accessed 5 June 2018
Claire Rogers, ‘Digital books more than child’s play’ (Interview) Stuff. Loaded 18 April 2011. Accessed  5 June 2018
Ruth Dyson, 'Launch Mana Wahine Week' (press release) Beehive website. Loaded 13 April 2004. Accessed  5 June 2018