Bangs ventures to the southernmost reaches of civilization, in a down under world with an upright world-view. Join Richard in search of an age-old Maori concept that might hold a key to our planet’s future survival. He hikes the Franz Joseph Glacier in southern New Zealand, takes a wild raft ride down the Kaituna River through sacred Maori land and waits for sperm whales to surface on a Whale Watch boat near the town of Kaikoura.
LENGTH: 1 x 60 Minutes
FORMAT: Special, one in a series
INTERNATIONAL TRACK: Yes
CLOSED CAPTIONS: No
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
PRODUCTION YEAR: 2007
RELEASE YEAR: 2007
SUPPLIER: Small World Productions
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
RIGHTS TERRITORY: Worldwide exclusive of USA
The massive lands of the Northern Hemisphere may tip the scales with their acreage, but today small New Zealand is proving to be more than good balance. It’s become a model for the world in its pursuit of a sustainable environment. Viewers join Richard as he traverses the most physically and climatically diverse landmass in Polynesia in search of an age-old Maori concept that might hold a key to our planet’s future survival.
According to Bangs, “There is something irresistible about New Zealand’s natural beauty, something ever-alluring about its deep culture; and something enigmatic about how it seems more pristine with each visit.”
New Zealand was the last major landmass settled by humans, by men and women in stout canoes who traveled thousands of miles across the Pacific. The descendants of those early Polynesian explorers, known as Maori, developed their own mythology and value system to help them survive in this mystifying new world. Now, Bangs is setting off to seek some modern answers rooted in indigenous wisdom, hoping to unearth the meaning and origins of something Maori call “Kaitiakitanga”. This complex cultural guideline evokes something like “caretaking” or “guardianship.” An important element of “Kaitiakitanga” is the responsibility human beings have to protect the physical world, including the land, seas and skies.
What’s old is new. Today’s Kiwis, people of both European and Maori descent, are promoting the idea that the knowledge of the ancients may be the secret to the preservation of our planet, for our children and our children’s children.
Bang discovers why today there’s an enthusiastic new wave of promoters of this age-old concept, and sees how its practice is playing out in modern New Zealand.
On this journey, Bangs begins in the south, in Mt. Aspiring National Park. Then he navigates north to the Franz Joseph Glacier and on to the town of Kaikoura. He’ll cross the Cook Strait to the North Island, stopping in Wellington, the Taupo region, and Hokianga Harbor. Finally, he arrives on the upper tip of New Zealand, where there is a great tangled tree of Maori legend.
2008 CINE Golden Eagle Award in the “People and Places” category
2008 Bronze Telly Documentary
2008 Emmy Nomination Documentary
2008 Environmental Media Association Nomination – the “Green Oscars”