Doggone secrets

Stewart Island film producer Pete Davis and the narrator of the film, his dog Lola, get ready for the premiere of  "A Local’s Tail".
MATT JONES
Stewart Island film producer Pete Davis and the narrator of the film, his dog Lola, get ready for the premiere of "A Local’s Tail".

Island secrets overheard by a dog in the pub are the inspiration for a film showcasing the history of Stewart Island.

A Local's Tail, a 40-minute documentary narrated by Lola, a Stewart Island pooch with a love of the ''local'', will premiere at the Bunkhouse Cinema tomorrow night.

Independent film-makers at Stewart Island Bunkhouse Productions have spent nearly two years working on the film gathering old photographs, postcards, movies and yarns from island residents.

Producer Peter Davis said the film would introduce visitors to the struggles and triumphs of the island's pioneers, both past and present, and would hopefully answer questions visitors often had about the island.

Mr Davis and his co-producer Penny Golias have spent many hours combining archival photographs and movies with recent footage of Stewart Island to introduce outsiders to the characters and colour of the community.

Many visitors wandered around the village without really appreciating the history, enterprise and industry that had gone into the community, Mr Davis said.

''A Local's Tail should be their first stop, so when pulling up a blue cod for tea, they can marvel at the rock that brought down the whaling ship or while photographing a delicate native orchid on Ulva Island, appreciate the effort that was required to collect the mail.''

Mr Davis said he was hoping for rave reviews from his harshest critics, the Stewart Island community, at an invitation-only premiere tomorrow night.

''It's been a labour of love but worthwhile and the community has been very supportive, although some people are a little nervous about what Lola overheard in the pub,'' he said.

The film will be launched by internationally-acclaimed actor and Lord of the Rings star Bruce Hopkins, who has spent a lot of time on Stewart Island.

A Local's Tail will screen three times daily through the summer at the Bunkhouse Theatre.

The Southland Times