Thursday, November 30, 2006

Better and better!

We’ve been frantically working towards getting gear together for the big trip and doing publicity, trying to get as much support for the project as possible. Consequently we haven’t updated this as often as we would have hoped. Here’s a big catch-up and we’ll try and keep blogging and keep you up with the play on a more regular basis from now on.

First up we’d like to welcome Sarah Lawrence to the crew. Sarah has trained in documentary directing and is currently interning at an NGO here in Auckland, but she has kindly offered her time and considerable smarts to the project, which is most appreciated.

Our itinerary has changed once again, as the boat that services the atolls, including Takuu, is one is now going early in December and then again later in the month. Rather than trying to press our departure date a bit earlier we’re currently expecting to go around December 20th. This leaves us more time to properly prepare our equipment and for Zane and Briar to finish getting shots for things like cholera, and get their lives in Auckland tidied up in preparation for a two month absence. A later travel date is also a good thing because of the unpredictability in processing time when getting a visa to enter Papua New Guinea. Having applied for the wrong kind of visa we had to start the process again, and we need to wait till Port Moresby gets in contact to give us the go ahead. All rather nerve-wracking.

Despite the volume and complexity of preparations and the difficulties of learning exactly what needs to be done going into somewhere like PNG as we go, we’ve been really pleased to be able to share the story of Takuu more widely with readers of the Aucklander,, and the Sunday Star-Times and with the listeners of the Larry Williams Show on Newstalk ZB and Nine to Noon on National Radio. Briar and Richard Moyle, possibly the world’s most patient anthropologist, are doing an interview on TV1’s Breakfast show at 7.40am tomorrow (Friday December 1), so you might want to tune in for that. Amber Older at Auckland University has been generously organising additional publicity and making sure we have all our outreach bases covered. You can find information about Takuu and our film on the Auckland University website.

We’ve been presented with so much support from so many companies, organizations and individuals it’s really very humbling. Panasonic are lending a DVX100 camera and Toughbook laptop as well as plenty of batteries – they’ve also come to the party with an offer of new tape stock, as have the wonderful people at Next Technology. Flying Fish are giving us backup stock for translation and transcribing (thanks Ems), and CineStuff are supplying us with a lighting kit free of charge.

Oxfam have been amazing, lending us a second camera, and generously giving us the benefit of their experience on the ground in the region. The VSA have supplied contacts and information. Ecoinnovation in New Plymouth and AA Solar here in Auckland have given us a good rate on solar panels, and Ecoinnovation has also given us the benefit of very informed advice on trickle charging batteries and other power-related issues.

Private individuals who have donated money include Thierry Jutel, Noeline Gannaway, Rowan Wernham, Donna Te Kanawa, artist Cellulite Rose and Vanessa Moon. Documentary filmmakers Susan Potter and Claudia Pond Eyley have offered us tape stock.

Some family members and friends of the crew have been particularly generous with their support and interest in the film, especially when it comes to developing the story or getting publicity. A special big thanks to Liz March (the director’s mother) who came up with a wonderful suggestion for the title of the film. She is lending one of her stills cameras for the trip and has made sure the crew have the appropriate vitamin and mineral supplements - what would we do without Mums! We would also like to mention Jane Gardiner’s enthusiasm for the story, and Anna Bates useful contacts in PNG.

The New Zealand Police stationed in Buka, Bougainville have been very welcoming via email and have offered a secure lockup for all the generously donated gear we’re taking, and we’ve even had advice on survival from a dude from New Zealand Defence Force.

I’ve heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child, but I reckon it takes the whole world to save a village. Thanks so much to everyone who’s contributed to the trip so far. Every single little bit makes a difference.

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