Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great Barrier Island - film screening - A matter of rats!

Great Barrier Island - home to about 700 facinating, friendly, fulltime residents - is positioned about 100k's off Auckland's eastern coast.
We were told that about 70% of the island is owned by DoC (tax payers), and apart from keeping the campsites in good order, DoC are also charged with managing the rodent population. (Along with the locals, not to forget.)
The island doesn't have possums, but they do have rats, and it's the method of controlling these rats that is the cause of much debate.
Brodificoum is used in baits stations on the island, and although bait stations are a more responsible way of delivering the killer food to the rats (as apposed to aerial distribution), Brodificoum is an accumulative poison, and causes secondary poisoning in non-target species scavenging on dead, and dying rats. So this was the main issue raised at the screening.

Steve and I were invited over, by island dweller Tony Storey, to introduce the second run of Poisoning Paradise.
One head count put the number of attendies at over 80, which is over 10% of the homo-sapien population - but one thing's for sure, the joint was packed!

The after film debate went really well. John Ogden, a trustee of Great Barrier Island Charitable Trust, was probably the most outspoken of the opposition, in attendance.
We met with John, just prior to leaving the island, to further discuss our points of view. As is often the case with opposition, we agree on most things.
But more importantly, we discussed the new rat poison being developed by Landcare Research, which is designed to kill only rats. This is exciting because other non-target animals, birds and organisms aren't in danger of unintended intoxication.
This is a perfect option for islands like Great Barrier, and one we hope to see pursued.
At the end of the day, as ugly as the content of the Poisoning Paradise documentary is, once open minded viewers get the picture of how irresponsible the aerial application of secondary causing poisons is - and that poisoning unknown numbers of birds, bats, insects, reptiles, aquatic life, deer, live stock, pets, people, and the other 50,000 multi cellular species inhabiting our forests - they often become aware that this practice must stop, and then the alternative methods of pest control can be refined, and employed.
This country has the alternatives, we have the man power and the budgets to develop them. Let's stop this aerial poisoning practice now, before the irriversable damage caused, becomes emense.

A big thanks to Tony Storey for organising the event. Thanks also to the Barrier Bulletin for their promotion, the Claris sports centre for hosting the event, to Richard Somerville-Ryan for chairing the debate, and to Nikki, from Sunbeam Sanctuary, for providing accomodation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Believe me, this came as a big shock!

We've all heard about conspiracy theories, and how the baddies will stop at nothing to keep their wicked ways wrapped. But does it really happen?

Well, yesterday I received an email, cc'd from the director of the AMRITSA Film Festival network, in response to someone based in New Zealand, trying to "persuade" the Festival organisers not to run Poisoning Paradise. Below is the correspondence. Names have been hidden, for privacy reasons.

P.S. Just this morning, we heard the news that
Poisoning Paradise has also been accepted into
the revered Heart of England International Film
Festival, to run in August. This is now festival
number 3, and counting!


To: director@swanseafilmfestival.com
Subject: Poisoning Paradise is propaganda

Dear Director

I was very disturbed to read recently that Poisoning Paradise, a film by Clyde and Steve Graf of New Zealand , is to be shown at your festival. I am concerned that audiences unfamiliar with the issue in New Zealand would not recognise this film for what it is – a blatantly biased piece of propaganda paid for by the deer hunting lobby.

The film (it would be very wrong to call this a documentary) is also made by deer hunters, one of whom has been convicted of armed robbery. The very few so-called ‘experts’ that the brothers dredge up have no scientific standing in New Zealand . The ‘research’ is not peer reviewed and goes against all other scientific research in New Zealand (see the first link below).

Despite all their efforts, and financial backing, none of the television networks (public and private) in New Zealand have agreed to screen it for the reasons listed above. I believe that screening this rubbish would only lend credibility to these characters, and would reflect very badly on what looks like a fine festival that you run.

1080 is actually a critical tool in the battle to protect New Zealand ’s beloved native flora and fauna from introduced pests, and one that we cannot do without.

I have posted some links below that may be of interest and there is plenty more material that can be found.

I would appreciate it if you let me know what you decide to do on this matter.

Kind regards

Rxxxxxx Cxxxxxx

The Links....

An interview with Phil Brown, Programme Manager, Biodiversity, Auckland and some other DoC rangers who use 1080 as one of their tools on front line of native bird protection and recovery.

1080 Documentary wins Bent Spoon Award

1080 campaigner has bank robbery convictions

Poison pays off for endangered NZ bird
TV one news

Nuts to 1080 nutters, yes to bush and beef
By Jon Morgan – The Dominion Post

Over the Fence: It's 1080 hysteria - again
By Jon Morgan – The Dominion Post


Attention: Rxxxxx Cxxxxxx. (Name removed to protect identity of writer)

Our decision to screen this documentary film within the AMRITSA Film Festival network has been made and will NOT be reversed.

AMRITSA Film Festivals are dedicated to and based upon the right of the free expression of opinion.

This ‘right’ is one which we will hold to fast and maintain in the interest of debate.

Should YOU and or YOUR organisation wish to present an alternative point of view to that contained within ‘Poisoning Paradise’ then we suggest you submit a ‘film’ and it would be considered for screening.

Thanks for writing



cc thegrafboys@xtra.co.nz

Monday, January 18, 2010


Poisoning Paradise has also been accepted to screen at the international film festival in Ireland, in September this year. Fingers crossed, there's more to come.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


About four weeks ago, one of New Zealand's leading film festivals - Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival - requested we submit Poisoning Paradise into their annual competition. So a few days later, we flicked the sucker off, and it's now in the boil-up pot, awaiting the proverbial judge's blade.

Of course, if we relied on the likes of New Zealand's highly censored, and Government-owned, TV One to decide on whether this important film was worthy of public scrutiny (without the public freaking out and rioting), we would all grow old, watching Coro.

So, since REEFF was in touch, Poisoning Paradise has been sent to various festivals around the world for festival consideration, and the hope that it may be accepted for screening in some of these others.

Thank goodness there are, believe it or not, uncensored, open minded platforms around the world (film festivals), that are not guided by government policy.

This morning we heard the news that Poisoning Paradise has been selected for a prestigious UK film festival, Swansea Bay Film Festival, which runs in the month of May, and we hope there are more to come.

So, what does this mean for New Zealand's image, its industry, its tourism, its economy, its future???

As long as this country continues to allow the contamination, the cruelty, and this deceitful practice to continue, we deserve what we reap. For those who wish to remain quiet, for fear of retribution, and allow this environmental disaster to continue - you are supporting this New Zealand ecocide.

For those who have an equal right to support the poor science that says that this deadly toxin 1080 (that is capable of killing everything that breathes air), can sustain life in over 50,000 multi cellular organisms, without harm, I pray for your ignorance...

We'll keep you up-dated on further film festival acceptances, so keep logging on.