A passionate conservationist and his canine companion fight together to save New Zealand’s kea.
Ajax the Kea Conservation Dog has been released as part of Loading Docs - a launchpad for short New Zealand documentaries.
DIRECTOR INTERVIEW: MICHAEL WEATHERALL
How did you get into film?
I studied in Wellington at Natcoll. I think it is called Yoobee now. There was an advanced filming-making course and I sort of did that. I bought a camera before that where I played around filming things and I suppose that was my first serious step.
Tell me about your latest project with Loading Docs?
I've been friends with Corey for quite a while and I've seen photos on Facebook about what he was doing. I just thought that would make a very cool short documentary. I did think about doing only a kea documentary first, but I guess when I looked into it more with possible short stories, I guess Ajax stood out. And, obviously, people love dogs so that wiped all the kea parts out.
Where was it filmed?
At Kahurangi National Park, just outside Nelson.
How was filming down there?
It was pretty tough, 'cos walking around down south is pretty challenging at times. I had to go for big walks and I really had to cut back on the gear I was hoping to take. I couldn’t handle it, pretty much.
There was one nest we had to walk to - it was seven hours there and back. There were no paths or anything, so it is pretty challenging. And of course, the kea didn't want show up.
Lastly, how are you feeling overall about the film?
I am happy with the story we got in the end, but in the future I guess I would like to do something longer. You think "Yeah, let’s put this deer in there". If it took three or four lines that's 30 seconds to a minute and that is like a quarter of the film.
Interview with Chev Hassett.