Mia comes from a family immersed in screen production, her father (Mark Teirney) was a cameraman and DoP, and her mother (Ella Henry) is a Māori screen academic and one of those who founded Ngā Aho Whakaari (the Māori screen industry guild), in 1996. Mia is part of a blended family, with 8 siblings (sisters, half-sisters, step-sisters and a step-brother), many also working in the screen industry. After completing a Bachelor of Business Studies, majoring in HR at AUT, Mia worked in retail and customer service, in New Zealand and Australia. Living in Australia, seeing how minorities and the Indigenous people of Australia are treated prompted her to move home, as she felt “a sense of obligation to do something for my people”. On returning Mia secured a role at the New Zealand Film Commission in Wellington. There she was mentored by renowned Māori-Samoan film maker Whetu Fala (Fala Media), in the Short Film Department, “where we were basically the only two Māori, in this government body that funds and produces New Zealand stories, which stimulated me to want to become a story-teller myself”.
Auckland University of Technology