Saturday, May 2, 2009

'Ways of Life' Film tour 2009

Where do I start... After 3 months of working on the orchard and editing in the evenings I finally at the end march had a film ejecting from the DVD burner. One final watch over to check it was good and it was off to the printers. I was definatly stoked with the final product and happy to have a week rest before the shows started! First up was the home town show in Hawkes Bay. A good social affair with all the local friends and family along to see the third addition. This was the venue for my first ever show and was cool to see the regulars along for the third time to see the story. The response from the crowd was great and the personal aspect to 'Ways of Life' was a real hit!
Battling a week long migraine leading up the show was not the ideal way to start but things went well and an early night after the show was much needed!
The next day I was off to school. Back to the halls where 8 years ago I had once walked, socks pulled up and shirt tucked in and now i was back but this time up the front! Friday morning I did a show for the senior school at Karamu High School and talked a bit about what I had done since leaving school.

-Keen kayaker at a young age!

That afternoon we were all loaded up in the car and off to the big smoke. The capital city of NZ is a great place for a show. Wellington is home to many people I went to school with and where my aunty lives which makes organising a show a breeze with her help!
7pm Saturday was show number 3 and a cool new venue. Close to town and once again Joeli came to the party with a great introduction and help with getting the show going!
With the migraine subsiding and lots of old friends round we went out for a few beers to catch up once the show was done. It was cool to see Hayley and Soph's family there watching and they were very proud to see the part these girls had played in the film but more so the efforts they had put into the Nepali Womens Kayak Expedition.

-Some quality NZ forest
With show 3 over, number 4 was right around the corner. Well actually over the cook straight and back to were I, and all the kiwi crew from the Nepal Expedition studied. Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology would host the show for the second year in a row with a great theater set up for the night. The crowd here were made up of mostly CPIT Recreation students and old friends from when I was down there. I think it was good for these younger students to see where previous students were and how far they had taken the skills learnt on the program. I even think a few of them were a bit shocked at the skills the nepali women had gained in kayaking in just 10 days too!

-West Coast hideaway

-View from the Bach door

With Easter falling in the middle of the show dates it was a perfect opportunity to have a rest and go kayaking. With family flying down to the West coast for Easter and a good bunch of mates on the coast it was set to be a great week off! My parents had hired a bach on the beach to relax for the long weekend but for me it was a mix of relaxing and mad phone calls trying to sort a helicopter ride into the river the next day! It was decided... Pat and Josh had a spare seat on a trip into the Wanganui and I was prepared to fill it! Pat and Gina drove down and picked me up and early the next morning we were loading the sack and off we went!

- Early morning views of Aoraki, Mt Cook

-Wanganui River Heli Airport Terminal, next to DOC sign

-Pat holding down the gear as the machine nears

-Heli coming in for pick up

-The view Pat and I enjoyed for Easter

-West Coast Easter eggs!

It never gets old. The smell of the chopper, the feeling of lift off and th low swoops over ridges as we made our way into the Southern Alps. Since Pat moved to the coast and I live in the North we hadnt got to paddle much in a while so this was a wicked way to spend Easter on the cool, clear waters of the Wanganui with a good mate!

-Unloading amongst the beauty!

-Pat in perspective

-West Coast days!

With the thought of chocolate easter eggs hidden around the bach we headed back to 12mile to the family to share stories of the day. Early monday morning I was on a plane heading further south to the adventure capital of NZ, Queenstown. With a day spare I caught up with some mates at Q-town rafting and went kayaking on the Shotover River. Tuesday the 14th was show 5 in Cromwell. With a bit of last minute organising we had a picture on the wall and the show went smoothly from there. This was the smallest show so far but was all new territory and good to get the story out anywhere possible.

-A spot of clothes shopping in Queenstown

The next destination was somewhere I had never visited before but heard a lot about. Te Anau is a small town on the lake on the way to Milford Sound famous for its amazing rainfall but also stunning scenery! Fiordland National Park Centre came on board and organised this one in their theatre room. A wicked venue all set up and ready to go. It was a very cool croud who brought up some interesting questions about the Nepal trip and my lifestyle. One of the big questions I was asked at every show was how are the nepalese women getting on now after the trip? It has been great to be a part of the Nepali Womens Kayak Group on Facebook as I was able to get day to day updates before every show so each time i answered it I was able to add new things and let everyone know how things were going.
-Lake Te Anau an hour before the show, beauty!

As I had a spare day in Te Anau before my flight home we decided to have another show the next night for those who couldnt make the first one. Another great evening!
Back up in Hawkes bay it was back to work for a few days before shows 8 and 9. Thursday night I headed out to Taranaki for a show in New Plymouth. A cool coastal town with a keen kayaking community!
-Fish and Chips at the beach in New Plymouth!

This was to be the last show raising money for the clinic as the Rotorua one was going toward the NZ Freestyle Kayak Comittee to keep that on the water. With a small competitive freestyle community in NZ it is hard to get enough funds to keep it going so this was a good opportunity to gather some people and raise a bit of money for another cause.
With all the shows over I was relieved, happy, proud and exhausted! I have now seen the film about a hundred times and it is now set on the shelf for a while.
Up at the Kaituna for the weekend over a few beers hatched a plan to run the whole river in the morning. I had done the Upper run many many times and the next gorge down, Awesome gorge, once. From the take out of Awesome, the river steepens rapidly and carves its was deeper into the earth. In places less than a boat length wide and up to 30meters deep. Its dark, loud and fast. This gorge is called Gnarly gorge and definalty lives up to its name! 7 of us dropped in one after another and did just a Brendan said! "Keep your speed, keep your nose up and watch out for wood, its about to get intence!". One by one we got on the liquid rollercoaster and one by one came out the other end. well to the half way point at least. After a quick breather we were back in the Gnar again till we paddled out the other end! A few close calls but everyone was ok and excited to be out the other side! From here there was one last gorge, Smokey Gorge. This is still tight and fast but more mellow than Gnarley! a good way to end the run.... Well not quite.... an hour of flat water marks the true end to the run as exhausted kayakers haul their boats onto the road and waited for the 5.30 pick up. Soph and Hess brought the cars down but not only were they awesome for doing that but they also brought HOT CHIPS!!! a much needed re-fuel after an intence day out!

-Southern Alps from above!
What an amazing tour! 9 shows, 2 islands, 3 new rivers, lots of new friends, and a film that has seemed to inspire a lot of people. For some it was an adrenaline hit, others it was motivation to get out and do something new but the main responce was that people were inspired and proud to know that there are people out there like the Kiwi women on the Nepal trip doing amazing things and caring about other peoples lives. 'Ways of Life' set out to show a different perspective on some interesting people doing something different and encouraging change in our world.

-Aotearoa, like no other!
Thanks very much to everyone who helped make this film project happen! My sponsors, friends, the crew in the film, music people, and the amazing help from the crew at KEEN for giving me the opportunity to be on the Nepal trip! Thank you to ALL of you! But moslty thanks to my family for all the help and support you have given me while I have been working on this project! I couldnt do it without them! CHEERS!

If you would like more information about this film or how you can get to see it please dont hesitate to contact me at

- New Plymouth an hour before the show

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