Hailing from Hutoia in the Far North of New Zealand, Hanelle is of Māori (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau and Ngāti Porou) and Lebanese lineage. In 2011 she graduated with a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Acting for Screen & Theatre from Unitec. Hanelle is an award-winning writer, producer and director who is gaining rapid recognition as a fresh and provocative voice. She is passionate about Māori and Polynesian stories, particularly those with strong female perspectives, socially challenging ideologies and distinctive next-generation voices.
She completed her Post-Graduate Diploma in Directing, Writing and Screen Production in 2013, and shortly after was cast as Tibs in Escalator-funded feature film Orphans and Kingdoms. Her most well-known work as a writer includes award-winning short film, The Promise Of Piha, Maori TV’s groundbreaking bilingual drama Ahikāroa, trailblazing web series Baby Mama’s Club (in which she also starred) and one hour TV spinoff Sis for Comedy Central. Hanelle is currently in funded development for a number of projects including Baby Mama’s Club (feature film) and Basic Training (TV drama series).