Film release to help save Fiordland

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 06/10/2012
Save Fiordland campaign.
Barry Harcourt
Daphne Taylor (Save Fiordland ) and Yakel film-maker Racheal Wilson discuss the gala showing of Wilson's movie in Te Anau on Sunday night.

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Tinseltown will come to Te Anau tomorrow night for the New Zealand cinema release of the documentary Yakel.

The red carpet affair will raise funds for the Save Fiordland group and its campaign against a proposed multimillion-dollar monorail in Fiordland and the Milford Dart Tunnel.

The documentary tells the story of Vanuatu's Chief Kowia who struggles to protect the simple existence of his people from materialism, commercial development and the trappings of the modern world.

Director Rachael Wilson said it was not a coincidence the documentary was having its first New Zealand release at a tiny cinema in Te Anau.

"Te Anau was the obvious choice for the New Zealand release because of the parallels in the film and the fight Fiordland faces in saving its wilderness from commercial development," she said.

"In Yakel the 108-year-old narrator talks about his remote tribe's dependence on the jungle for survival and his fight to stop jungle exploitation. I hope his voice and passion inspires all Save Fiordland supporters to carry on with their fight."

Wilson and post-producer Graham McArthur, who will both be present at the screening in Te Anau, were donating all proceeds from the event to the Save Fiordland campaign.

"To fight anything with government traction behind it, you need a lot of money. You can't fight the government and big business with just picketing," Wilson said.

"Having the film release in Te Anau came down to what we believed in, rather than the financial gain we may have got by staging it in a bigger city."

The message from the chief was one all New Zealanders should hear, she said.

"I asked the chief what the secret to a happy life was and he replied: ‘Live in harmony with people and nature. That's the only secret'."

Fiordland Cinema donated the theatre and staff for the night with local businesses supplying food and wine.

Save Fiordland chairwoman Daphne Taylor said tickets to the gala evening cost $150 per person and the 52 seats had sold out well in advance.

The event was a great opportunity to help raise more funds for the Save Fiordland campaign, she said.

A silent art auction last weekend raised nearly $4000 and the Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand pledged $14,000 to the Save Fiordland group last week.

Yakel will be released in selected cinemas nationally, including Te Anau and Dunedin.

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- The Southland Times

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