Joe and Fay Gock fled as child refugees from war-torn China during the occupation of large parts of the country by Japan’s brutal army.
Nobody could have guessed when New Zealand took them in the part they would play in saving our national root vegetable.
When Black Rot threatened to obliterate the kumara industry in the 1950s, the Gocks gifted their disease-resistant strain to the nation, and refused to take a penny for it.
Pukekohe film-maker Joe Hitchcock’s latest work is very close to his heart.
The short documentary Blood Sugar premieres in New Zealand this week and stars his four-year-old daughter, Dahlia.
Dahlia is scared of needles, but has type one diabetes and needs insulin injected several times a day.
Hitchcock said New Zealand currently had one of the highest rates of paediatric diabetes in the world, and numbers were estimated to be growing at almost 10 per cent annually.
The cause is not yet understood.
Blood Sugar was partially funded by the Loading Docs initiative, with support from the New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air, as well as 53 donors who contributed to a crowd funding campaign.
- Croc Coulter, a heavily tattooed Englishman living in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, is dedicated to the art
- Tātatau tattooing is the process where the skin is struck with handmade tools of bone or tusks, and ink
- This method creates tattoos of elaborate symmetrical patterns or designs that are steeped in tradition
- Mr Coulter has taken on an apprentice Moko Smith to help pass on the revered Cook Island custom
An English tattooist is the unlikely master of the traditional Polynesian art of Tātatau and he is dedicated to passing on the revered Cook Island tradition.
To ensure the method continues Croc Coulter, a heavily tattooed Englishman from Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, has taken on a new apprentice and is passing on his knowledge.
Tātatau tattooing is the process where the skin is struck with handmade tools of bone or tusks, and ink to create elaborate symmetrical patterns or designs steeped in tradition.
If you haven’t heard of it, Loading Docs is a short-film project full of “small stories which pack a big punch”.
The initiative, funded by NZ On Air and made with support from The New Zealand Film Commission, is back for the third-year running.
It sees 10 film-makers get the opportunity to work with some of New Zealand’s best in their field to make three-minute documentaries to fit a theme – this year’s theme being “change”.
Loading Docs’ co-founder and executive producer Julia Parnell is an award-winning producer and documentary director who works with the film-makers on the project.
For the third year running, we have launched 10 new 3-minute shorts that will captivate and challenge us to see local stories in new ways.
Funded by NZ On Air and supported by The New Zealand Film Commission the 2016 collection explores the theme of ‘change’, sharing such diverse stories as; coming to grips with a life threatening disease, a personal epiphany leading to a dramatic lifestyle change, a gender reassignment challenging two best friends and a hotly debated political issue, these shorts all have the potential to change the way we think and feel about the world around us.
The collection launched at Auckland’s Academy Cinema tonight at a glittering event hosted by Seven Sharp’s Erin Conroy and is now available to view and share from the Loading Docs website and on TVNZ OnDemand. Two shorts from this year’s collection have also recently gained the prestige of screening before feature films in the NZ International Film Festival; Water for Gold and How Mr and Mrs Gock Saved the Kumara.
Executive Producer Julia Parnell says ‘this year we have challenged our filmmakers to push even harder to connect with their audiences. To do that you have to tell great stories and this dynamic collection has something for everyone. The 3-minute format continues to be a powerful way to present short stories that pack a big punch.’
Loading Docs is committed to leading change for media in New Zealand synonymous with international trends in documentary making and online distribution and is constantly seeking new ways to make high-quality sharable short-form content, which will delight and engage.
Loading Docs co-creator Anna Jackson hopes ‘that more people than ever before will get behind the incredible talent and inspiring local stories by watching and share them with the world’.
We are very proud to partner with TVNZ OnDemand.
In some ways, it was just another adventure.
Neil and Byron, mountaineering mates for 25 years, were parked up in Arthur’s Pass. Bantering in the autumn light, they readied their gear to the sound of music – a tradition to pump them up before heading into the wilderness.
In other ways, the friends were breaking new ground. It was the first time they’d tramped together since Byron, a father of three, came out as a woman.
Byron Skinner, a 51-year-old orderly at Christchurch Public Hospital, had felt she was a female since childhood. It took her 43 years to articulate this to those around her.
Larry Woods, Mister Sunshine has to be New Zealand’s most famous and flamboyant shoe-shiner.
Big, little, smart or casual, he shines them all for free so it’s not exactly making him a rich man.
He earns money from his beeswax which he sells for $50.
But this hasn’t always been Mr Woods’ life — he was a multi-millionaire once mingling with big names among high fashion.
But despite all the money and perks, he wasn’t happy and after a few bad deals and a couple of divorces, he lost it all.
Now his riches to rag story has been made in to a short film which premieres tonight in Auckland.
Watch the video for the full Story report.
You can now watch the short film on www.loadingdocs.net
via Story (Watch it here)
The 2016 films, which were announced earlier in the year, are Robert George’s Aka’ōu: Tātatau in the Cook Islands, Joe Hitchcock’s Blood Sugar, Ryan Heron & Andy Deere’s Bludgeon, Greg Wood & Peter Alsop’sThe Colourist, Felicity Morgan-Rhind’s How Mr and Mrs Gock Saved the Kumara, Doug Dillaman & Brendan Withy’s Imagine the World is Ending, Eldon Booth’s Mister Sunshine (fka The Impeccable Larry Woods), Louise Leitch’s Same but Different, Leigh Minarapa’s Street Smart and Rose Archer’s Water for Gold.
Two of the titles, How Mr and Mrs Gock Saved the Kumara and Water for Gold, have accompanied features in this year’s NZIFF. For the remaining eight, the release is effectively the premiere.