May 9, 2024

Cian Elyse White (Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Tainui) is a multidisciplinary artist and festival director; having started her career as an actor, writer, and director for the stage & screen. Cian Elyse trained at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, and has worked as an arts professional ever since. Born and raised in Rotorua, New Zealand, Cian gained traction for her award-winning short film Daddy’s Girl (Kōtiro), which she wrote and directed, and her Te Reo Māori short PIIKSI/HUIA, which was selected for the Seattle International Film Festival & Blacklight film festival 21/22. Cian also directed the 2020 NZTV Award-nominated series Living By The Stars with Professor Dr. Rangi Mātāmua, and has written and storylined for TV shows such as
Ahikāroa and Head High. She also has two SWANZ for best new writer & best play ‘Te Puhi’.

Cian Elyse also appeared in the feature film Cousins, and the TV series My Life Is Murder and VEGAS. Cian Elyse is passionate about championing kaupapa Māori films and uplifting the voice of wāhine Māori in storytelling. In May 2023, Cian was selected as a fellow for the SUNDANCE Film Institute Native Lab, and attended a two week intensive in Santa Fe, NM. In January this year, Cian travelled to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Cian is currently writing her first feature film, ‘TE PUHI’ (The Princess), inspired by the crowning of the first Māori Miss NZ. It will shoot in Rotorua & London late 24 early 25. Alongside her filmmaking and acting careers, Cian is the Festival director for ARONUI Arts Festival. This is a role in which Cian gives back to her iwi and hometown, whilst continuing to create and bring stories to life using different arts mediums.