Go see a doco

Written By: - Date published: 9:07 am, July 14th, 2010 - 15 comments
Categories: film - Tags: ,

The documentary “There Once was an Island: Te Henua e Nnoho” that my partner Lyn Collie has spent her ‘spare’ time producing for the last four years is about to get it screened in New Zealand at the film festivals starting this weekend. It has already been screened or is scheduled to screen in over 10 film festivals worldwide. It has won three festival prizes and has international distribution with Journeyman Pictures (UK). In 2011 it will screen on America’s PBS network.

The documentary follows the lives of three people on Takuu, a unique Pacific Island fishing community, as they face the first devastating effects of climate change, including a terrifying flood. In the course of the film the islanders decide whether to stay with their island home or move to a new and unfamiliar land, leaving their culture and language behind forever.

Briar March

The director Briar March has come home from her studies at Stanford in the US to do the Q&A at each of the screenings. The first screening in Auckland will have a party and short panel discussion at the Wintergardens, downstairs at the Civic Theatre. You’ll be able to hear more from Briar, as well as earth scientists John Hunter and Scott Smithers, who appear in the film, Auckland University Ethnomusicologist Richard Moyle, and a representative from Oxfam New Zealand. I suspect that I will break my anti-social behaviors to be there as well 🙂

This is a really good documentary. Even now, after being forced to watch quite a few times during editing and post-production, I’m still looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. I think that most people will find the documentary fascinating for its look at a Polynesian culture living an average of a metre above mean high tide in these times.

Ticket bookings can be made at ticketek by clicking here. For the Auckland screenings, through the box office at Auckland’s Civic Theatre. You can also try to buy a seat before the screening, but the tickets are selling faster than expected.

Sunday July 18, 1.30pm, Skycity Theatre (followed by party and panel discussion)
Wednesday July 21, 11.15am, Skycity Theatre

Sunday 25 Jul, 3:45pm Rialto Cinemas Dunedin

Tuesday 27 Jul, 6:15pm Paramount

Saturday July 31, 6.00pm Regent on Worcester
Monday August 2, 12.00pm Regent on Worcester

15 comments on “Go see a doco”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    Not denying that AGW might be having some affect with respect to Takuu. However, isn’t Takuu on the subduction zone of the Pacific Plate.

    If so, AGW is probably small potatoes compared to geological activity.

    • lprent 1.1

      Short answer is that it doesn’t matter….

      It is, however you’re talking about effects that are too small to be visible in less than hundreds of years.

      The main issues that the atolls face world wide are

      1. Offshore storm surges from increasingly erratic weather flooding the atolls, especially when there are high tides
      2. Coral bleaching from changing water temperatures. Dead coral doesn’t grow thereby reducing the protection from waves.
      3. Probably similar effects to coral from changing sea water acidity, but that hasn’t been proved yet.
      4. Rising sea levels compounding the other issues

      I sometimes wonder about peoples abilities to comprehend geological time scales. I’d almost swear that CCDs have a particular genetic disability on timescales.

      • tsmithfield 1.1.1

        I wasn’t denying AGW if you read my post properly.

        However, the figures I have heard for sea level rise for Takuu (10-20cm per year) is far beyond what is experienced in other parts of the world, so it it reasonable to assume some other causes as well. I accept what you are saying about storm surges. However, I also heard on the news I think that storm surges are also pushing more sediment onto the island thus increasing its height.

        • lprent

          The problem is that if you look at any beach area, you’ll find a multiplicity of factors at play all at once.

          I suspect you’re referring to Takuu’s erosion problem rather than its sea rise. I believe some idiot journo made a typo a decade or so ago and said or implied that it was sealevel rise at that rate when they meant sea front erosion.

          The beach front is retreating at about that rate. That is because of some pretty bad seawalls, combined with a lot of dead coral, and increased storm activity.

      • burt 1.1.2

        Other causes…Short answer is that it doesn’t matter the makers of the doco have chosen one thing to focus on and it’s the current trendy one so STFU about other things – please.

        • lprent

          Most of the doco is about people having to be displaced because of a external issue. It just happens that climate change is the cause rather than over-fishing, volcanos, earthquakes, river movement, or having a bloody useless NACT government.

          I suspect you’re pre-judging the doco myself…. Moreover you’re doing it preemptively rather retrospectively. Which is worse?

  2. ianmac 2

    If it was Briar in a recent radio interview, she said that at first it was believed that their problem was rising sea levels but that this was now unproven, she said. Other factors at play. The problem for the dire straits that this island group of about 400 people remains.

    • lprent 2.1

      Yep, that was Briar.

      The current issues come mostly from the increased frequency of flooding events from storm surges.

      Figure it through. If you pump more energy into the climate system then the weather events get more extreme. There is more energy that has to be pushed around the weather systems to equalize the energy. So you get more frequent movement of air (and ocean) masses. Therefore you get storms.

      Handling a flood every 50 years isn’t that much of a problem for either an atolls fresh water aquifer or the inhabitants. Having it happen every few years means that an atoll becomes uninhabitable because they can’t grow ground crops .

      The sealevel rise over the last 100 years is less than 10 cm. It will increase more rapidly this century

  3. Cnr Joe 3

    Been looking forward to this,
    shame for me I can’t make the SkyCity Sunday showing w following discussion.

  4. Why no showing in Hamilton. We have 3 different theatres all with a number of screens. Not one is showing this doco. Perhaps the Tory majority have used their influence .

  5. Don Miller 5

    Islands on plates that are being uplifted by tectonic activity suffer consequential coastal erosion between uplift events. This applies on the east coast near Gisborne as well as other parts of NZ. I have certainly observed it where I work in the Pacific. The weather coasts (the SE coasts on which the trade winds beat) suffer the highest rate of erosion. It is normal and not associated to any extent YET by sea level rise.

    The problem lies with aid projects giving huge funding (European guilt money) to adapt to as yet insignificant sea level rise. The damage arising from these poorly conceived works will actually cause more environmental damage than the sea is YET causing.

    By the time real sea level rise issues do actually occur, and by the time the sea has become too acid for coral reefs to grow and protect coastlines as they do now, the world will have lost interest in small Pacific states as their own problems will have taken over.

    • lprent 5.1

      In the second shoot, Briar and Lyn took along a couple of specialist scientists in coral islands and oceanography. They did some intensive investigation of the tectonic uplift/subsidence theories (which do affect other areas in PNG – albeit too slowly to account for recent changes). They concluded that there is no evidence of any recent plate activity on this atoll.

      Hopefully I’ll talk Lyn and Briar into letting me display the video of the panel discussion at the Wintergarden, where that question was raised, and answered by Scott and John.

      • Don Miller 5.1.1

        I would like to follow this situation up more closely. The islands that I work on show no obvious signs of recent uplift either as the coastal readjustment process can take long periods of time. I am certainly not saying sea level rise isn’t happening, more that it is important to correctly attribute the causes of the problems affecting the people in case they can be addressed in site. This will also give less ammunition to climate change deniers – they love twisting information. As I am biased in Vanuatu I will be unable to see the film for some time. Contact me if you could please. donmillernz at gmail.com

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