Paul Wolffram

Film Academic School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies


Teaching in 2017

Dr Paul Wolffram profile picture


PhD Victoria

Key duties

  • Technician management of all Film Programme equipment.
  • Health and Safety for all Film facilities.
  • Disability Liaison for Film, Theatre, and Media Studies Programmes

Current research projects

Dr Wolffram specialises in ethnographic documentary production and has several years of experience working with Pacific Island peoples in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and here in New Zealand. He has made films with and about Pacific peoples and their traditional music and dance practices as well as documentary features that focus on communities and their understandings of place and people.

Current research projects include:

What Lies that Way – Documentary feature about the sorcery practices of Island Papua New Guinea.

Nga Reo O Te Whenua: Voices of the Land. – Documentary Feature about Richard Nunns and traditional Maori Instruments

Areas of supervision

Dr Wolffram is interested in supervising in the following areas:

  • Documentary theory and practice
  • New Zealand Film
  • Production Studies
  • Ethnographic film theory and practice
  • Short Film Production
  • Documentary Production.

Recent publications

2013, In press: Instruments of Southern New Ireland. Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 2013 Oxford University Press. New York.

2013, Pakeha, Palagi, Whiteskin: Reflections on Ethnographic Socialisation and the Self, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology

2012, Chapter 21 Pacific Music and Dance: An introduction, The Pacific Islands: Environment and Society, Edited by Moshe Rapaport. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press 2010

2012, An Ethnographer in Paris. Illusions: New Zealand Moving Image and Performing Arts Criticism, Editor Lawrence McDonald.

2011, Music is where we found it: A festschrift in honour of Allan Thomas, Editors Wendy Pond and Paul Wolffram, 2011 Victoria University Press, Wellington.

2011, A Power Like No Other: Music, Dance and the Maintenance of Social Order in a New Ireland Community, In Music is where we found it: A festschrift in honour of Allan Thomas, Editors Wendy Pond and Paul Wolffram 2011, Victoria University Press, Wellington.

2010, Langoron: The Experience of Music and Dance Among the Lak People of Southern New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Published Thesis, LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrucken, Germany 2010.

2010, Singing Spirits: Performance Place and Space in Island Melanesia. In, Austronesian Soundscapes: Performing Arts in Oceania and Southeast Asia, (AUP - IIAS Publications) Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press 2010.

Recent creative work

2011, Stori Tumbuan: Ancestors Tales. A feature length ethnographic film focusing on the mythologies of a Melanesian community. Produced & directed by Paul Wolffram.
Screenings: New Zealand International Film Festival 2011. Jean Rouch Film Festival Paris 2011.
Gottingen International Ethnographic Film Festival 2012.
Society of Visual Anthropology Film Festival 2012. New Zealand Film Society.
Awards: Jean Rouch Award, Society of Visual Anthropology, American Anthropology Association.

2011 Rubber’s Kastom. One man defies convention to perform his own funeral.  An ethnographic film that looks at the extensive mortuary rites of the Lak people of Papua New Guinea. Produced & directed by Paul Wolffram.
Screenings: Royal Anthropology Institute International Festival of Ethnographic Film.

2011 Te To’kie i Nukunonu: Tokelau Weaving: A film about the traditional weaving practices of Tokelau women living in New Zealand. The film both demonstrates the practices, stories and meaning of weaving among the Tokelau community. Produced & co-directed by Paul Wolffram.
Awards: Creative New Zealand Award for Pacific Artists.

2008 Te Eitei: The Banaban Story. A film about a displaced population forced to leave their island home due to extensive mining of the super-phosphate.The film details New Zealand’s role in the destruction of the island and the life of the Banaban people in their new island 60 years after their re-location. Produced & directed by Paul Wolffram.
Screenings: New Zealand Documentary Festival.

Major achievements

2012:  Winner of the Jean Rouch Award of Collaborative Film Making. Society of Visual Anthropology.

2012:  Winner of a Fullbright Travel Award