River focus a hit with politicians

A hit with politicians

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 07:48 01/08/2014
river
GRANT MATTHEW/FAIRFAX NZ
Tough topic: Palmerston North Boys’ High School students Ed Reilly, 18, left, and Jack Veale, 17, have made a documentary about the Manawatu River cleanup, featuring interviews with politicians, regional council leaders and environmentalists.

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A school media project turning the spotlight on the Manawatu River has been picked up by politicians and shared on social media.

Palmerston North Boys' High School students Ed Reilly, 18, and Jack Veale, 17, have made a documentary about the Manawatu River cleanup, featuring interviews with politicians, regional council leaders and environmentalists.

The duo put together the eight-minute documentary for a year 13 media studies assignment and were delighted to see it being taken notice of outside the classroom, including being shared on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, with the Green Party profiling the piece.

The documentary takes a look at the progress of the Manawatu River Leaders' Accord, the blueprint of how to improve the river catchment's quality.

It features interviews with some high-profile Palmerston North people who have been at the heart of the plan since it was launched four years ago, including Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway, mayor Jono Naylor, Massey University environmentalist Dr Mike Joy, Horizons Regional Council chief executive Michael McCartney and Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon.

The documentary was a snapshot of how the accord was going from the perspectives of different key players.

The river was an important feature of Palmerston North, with its treatment a polarising topic needing more public awareness and discussion, the pair said.

"It's not terribly appealing to people, especially young people, but it does need to be known about," Veale said.

The project had increased the students' knowledge of water quality issues, which they wanted to share with others.

"We read the river accord and gave ourselves a good foundation, but we didn't know a great deal about it to start with," Reilly said.

"It was sort of a discovery for both of us, but what we've tried to do is present both sides [of the story] and left it fairly open for interpretation."

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- Manawatu Standard

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