Done and dusted

Hi all

Many of you will know the film project has long since been and gone. But if you are landing on this page and still want to know more about the project (beyond what you can find here) or to see the film I can help.

  • You can get in touch with me via my regular blog – Sofie Welvaert
  • Or see the whole film (free) here.

Thanks so much for all the support and inspiration – I cant wait for the next great adventure!

– Sofie

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Its been a while

…mostly because I havent really known what to say. The time has come when the sun streams in the windows and the forest is a beacon of cool greens and baby birds, thesis, what thesis?

The film, some might say is done and dusted but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m only starting out this journey and maybe one day I’ll be able to say I’ve made a difference, for now there’s work to be done.

First the thesis, it unfolds on the pages only with the most determined encouragement and heavy machinery (or is that just me?), it will take longer than perhaps it should but most importantly I intend on getting it right.

And while I chip away at those empty pages of glaring white, the forum continues to meet and work, the future of the basin is still in question, it’s still up to you. Finding the balance between environment and industry, and more importantly, recognising the two must complement each other as making them competitors will ensure both will lose out in the end, is key to a future for all.

I might sound a bit like a hippie in saying this but we are all connected, the destruction of our native environment is not a loss we can survive and the sooner we realise this the better we can manage the great changes that are before us.

Think about your future people, I’d like mine to include clean air, fresh water some nice lamb ribs and a glass of fresh NZ milk – but maybe I’m asking for too much, what do you think?


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More premiere excitement

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Where to now?

Hello wonderful people, I am glad to announce that sneak previews for ‘Green or Gold’ are starting now!

While the film itself is done and dusted there is still a seemingly endless collection of things to be accumulated, and one of these collected items is the sneak previews / trailer and ‘extras’ – ie footage that didnt make it into the final cut.

So keep you eyes peeled!

first up is a silly little clip about spiders featured on my other blog – find it here.

Coming soon will be comments from some of the wonderful characters that ended up on the cutting room floor (including Claire Barlow the Mackenzie District Mayor and Josh Nelson a local at the Twizel area school).

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The time has come….

… the walrus said, to talk of many things…………..

And today I’m back (finally) to tell you that the past few months of chaos have paid off. Congratulations, it’s a movie!

The final film is called Green or Gold, not black and white and features the Mackenzie/Waitaki basin including some of its struggles with the present.

Helping it with its story are:

Jim Morris of Ben Avon station in the stunning Ahuriri.

Tony Gloag from Buscot Station near Omarama (and home of the best backpackers in the area).

Richard Peacocke, owner of Glenn Eyrie downs and a director of Southdown Holdings Limited and Williamson Holdings Limited.

And for those who want to find out more, come and check out the premiere!

‘Green or Gold’ will be playing along with 6 other short films (25 minutes each) at 6pm on the 16th of November at Dunedin’s Regent theatre.

The films range in theme from sharks and politics to endangered birds and curling, all are well worth a visit and for only $5 what have you got to lose?

Tickets will be available through the Centre for Science Communication and the Regent Theatre.

Hope to see you all there

– Sof

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Whats in a name…….?

If you’ll excuse my butchering of the bard: “that which we call a Mackenzie, by any other name would be as sweet”

I have talked before about the problem with names but what you don’t know is what the movie is called. And there’s the nub, how do you name a movie about a place when you’re struggling to name the place in a meaningful way?

It was all very well for me to make my own definition (see the linked post above). But not everyone who sees the movie will have read the blog, and the nature of blogs is that only parts are read – so how could they know?

A film needs to be able to stand alone, providing its own context and only rely on outside information for enrichment rather than understanding of the content – and it starts with a name. . .anyone see my dilemma yet?

But I have some ideas, and they’ve been researched and been considered with great ohm (imagine me staring into space with furrowed brow chin resting in hand), but if you don’t understand them then there’s work still to be done – so tell me what you think.

…without further ado…I’ll test the first name on you:

Green or goldBack country dreams.

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What have I been doing and what is the film even about?

Hmmmm…. good question,

You kiwis out there might remember we had a little snow recently – Perfect for the film right!!! beautiful and deadly, adds jeopardy to the story……blah blah blah. Only in reality I like many of us was stuck at home, however . . .

Sofie, Annie, Dalek, Oscar, Rowan

other creative avenues were explored in our limited winter wonderland as you can see we invited the neighbours to help us build a snowman (or snow Dalek). I hope all my farmer friends are doing ok, and didnt loose too many lambs, hopefully that’s behind us and the spring sun will creep in soon (there’s been some spotted here in Dunedin but for how long?).

And whats the film all about?

Well that one I’ve been struggling to get my head around and if you’ve read some of my earlier posts maybe you’ll have an idea,

or at least a glimpse of my evolution of ideas.

When I started out this seemed to be a pretty simple issue:

– Dairy farming is an ecological disaster

– The Mackenzie/ Waitaki basin is an area of outstanding values

– I need to convince people to keep Dairying out and maintain the basin as it is.

Whereas in reality things are far more complicated than that. While I stand by much of what I thought before the answer to many questions depends

It depends on the station, on the paddock, on the managers and owners and the climate that each one has to work in and its different for everyone. So while I’m still not a fan of intensive farming, and in some instances i know it is the wrong choice for the Mackenzie/ Waitaki (in my opinion, and it’s for you to decide what value that has) my whole approach to this project has changed thanks to all the people who took the time to tell me their stories.

Theres no question that some farmers behave as though the law doesnt apply to them, and sometimes it seems lack of enforcement encourages this, but remember this isnt everyone, and it certainly isnt confined to dairy famers (you might remember my soapbox moment a while back over seeing beef cattle in the Ahuriri). You can’t tar all farmers with the same brush, even within ‘types’ or styles of farming each one is different and in such a unique and variable environment each farm needs to be treated accordingly.

These people of the basin told me their histories and the passion they have to be here, they showed me the commitment required to survive in an uncompromising environment and the devastation when things go wrong. They took me across the plains and up the valleys of this wild country so I could see their stories laid out in the land.

This is a place where people have passion and perseverance, where science and technology meet really smart thinkers to find newer better ways to survive, and preserve, and pass something on in better condition than they found it.

These are the true guardians, the stewards of a wild and wonderful place and there’s a name I think fits them well – Ahikaa: those who keep the home fires burning. These are the people on the land working it every day, while this place holds a place in the hearts of many New Zealanders these are the people who hold that place for us, they care for it on behalf of all, and that needs to be recognised and supported.

Something to think about…

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