Sometimes New Zealand 'feels like it's going backwards' on diversity issue - Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi has spoken out about diversity in the New Zealand film industry, saying things are "getting better" but adding it sometimes feels "like we're going backwards". 

The New Zealand filmmaker made the comments at the 2020 Directors Guild of America Awards in Los Angeles over the weekend.

An American journalist interviewed Waititi at the event and suggested "diversity doesn't seem to be such an issue" in Aotearoa.

"It's getting a little better in New Zealand [but] I think it's still an issue. I think it is something that needs to be addressed," Waititi told APTN. 

"Sometimes, you know, we feel like we're making steps forward and then other times we feel like we're going backwards a bit. And I don't think any country really is exempt from that. New Zealand has got its own issues as well."

Waititi added that he knows many filmmakers in Aotearoa who have struggled to get films made.

"It's not easier down there. I guess maybe the diversity thing doesn't seem like an issue because there are not as many people and it's probably a little easier, I guess, to say, 'Yes. Do it.'"

Waititi's upcoming movies include Marvel sequel Thor: Love and Thunder and Samoan football story Next Goal Wins.

He's still attached to a Hollywood version of Japanese classic Akira, too - and is reportedly in early talks to helm a Star Wars movie.

But the Raukokore-born 44-year-old says his Kiwi audiences are still extremely important to him.

"I was offered things every time I made a film here in Hollywood. But I always decided to go back home to make my films and really to make them for New Zealanders and to make them for my friends and for people who I knew got me, and wanted to see my stories," Waititi said.

"My entire career, I owe to New Zealand audiences because they were the first people who latched on and got my stuff. And, also, because of them other people decided to do it. They've been my biggest supporters."

Waititi's latest film, Jojo Rabbit, is up for six Oscars when the Academy Awards are given out at a ceremony in Los Angeles in February.