Water Whisperers: Tangaroa shows local activists preserving New Zealand waters and marine life. Rivers, lakes and coastlines are explored in honor of Tangaroa, the god of the sea. Kathleen Gallagher directs.
Gallagher interviews Maori communities, fishermen, farmers, conservationists and public officials. Communities find simple, effective ways to purify and revitalize water. The DVD is available at WickCandle Film.
“No water, no life”
Ten communities adopt intelligent water and land use policies. Their success is inspiring. Yet marine reserves comprise only 1% of the country’s main coastline. If we damage water, we damage ourselves, says Dr. Cath Wallace, environmental economist at Victoria University.
Tremendous increases in fish stock have occurred at reserves, exceeding the expectations of scientists. The Raglan community reclaimed its harbor and waterways. Fishing improved greatly in just a few years.
More reserves are needed, many believe. If 50% of New Zealand’s coastline were preserved, the resulting bounty of fish and marine life would be “huge,” believes author and environmentalist Andy Dennis.
Economic development must be accomplished in balance with nature, says Mark Solomon, the Kaiwhakahaere (chair) of Te R?nanga o Ng?i Tahu.
Stream health improves
In Aorere, Golden Bay, mussel harvesters work with dairy farmers to decrease water and shellfish contamination from animal sewage, fertilizers and chemicals. As opposing groups cooperate, they find a common interest in conservation and prosperity.
Local stream health has improved since individual farmers added effluent systems. Now mussels can be harvested 70% of the time in Aorere.
Conservation’s popularity is increasing. Goat Island Marine Reserve in Northland hosts over a quarter of a million visitors each year, says marine biologist Dr. Bill Ballantine.
Samara Nicholas directs and coordinates Experiencing Marine Reserves, a program that brings students and youth groups to reserves.
Closing the water cycle
“Communities have got to close their water cycle” to cleanse, revitalize and reuse water, she says. “Water should be absolutely sacred.”
Sculptor, potter and speaker Mike O’Donnell visits Waikino School students who have completed an art project about the water cycle and their ancestors.
Discovering character, energy, resilience
The film evokes the sacred with reverent cinematography by Mike Single. Tim Brott and Ben Edwards achieve exquisite sound. In its gentle, incessant flow, water is manifest as life itself.
Diver Steve Hathaway films underwater beauty. Reverence is enhanced by Maori and Celtic music from Aroha Yates Smith, Taihuka Smith, Bob Bickerton and Richard Nunns.
Water Whisperers / 2010 / NR / 1 hour, 18 min
Cast Overview: Raewyn Solomon, Mike O’Donnell, Chief Caleen, Fred Lichtwark, Sue Brown, Katherine Goldsmith, Perry Watts, Bill Ballantine, Cath Wallace, Wade Doak
Director: Kathleen Gallagher
Genres: Documentary, Water, Earth