I have often been asked why Song of the Kauri does not speak of kauri dieback within the film.
Kauri dieback (Phytophthora taxon Agathis) was not formally found until 2008 and sadly only slowly is it being recognised by the public as a serious threat to our kauri. In October 2009 the Government announced funding of a long term management programme for kauri dieback. It is a devastating disease that is specific to NZ kauri and great work is being done to research possible cures, though, at this time, there is no known treatment to prevent it. It is largely spread by soil movement through human and animal activity (as we tramp through the forest we carry the disease from tree to tree). Hygiene measures and education are the best chance we have at controlling its spread.
At all the NZ Film Festival screenings (22) Song of the Kauri had brochures and posters from the Kauri Die-back Management Programme and Stacey Hill (kauri dieback Auckland Council) was present at the Auckland screenings. At all sessions presented by director Mathurin Molgat, kauri dieback was presented and discussed. There is a link on the Song of the Kauri website to the Kauri Dieback Management Programme.
Song of the Kauri is a self funded film which champions kauri and its extraordinary potential. It speaks in its own voice to spread the knowledge gained by the tireless work of so many New Zealanders who are largely unknown to the public, but whose research and devotion to our kings of the forest is their best chance of survival. Many of these people run and work for volunteer organisations and their work is the foundation for the future of our native forests. From private kauri plantations to tree top protests, from laboratories to classrooms and from the forest floor to the boardroom table kauri conversation is alive. The only place where silence reigns is at the dining table of our elected government officials.
Song of the Kauri is a celebration of kauri, its glory and its pain, and we hope that our future generations will be able to once again bask in the shade of this iconic New Zealand tree.