English, Te Reo Maori
Aotearoa New Zealand

Rapid urbanization, intensifying natural hazards, glacial retreat, exponential tourism growth, and expanding dairy farms are having an unassailable effect on Aotearoa New Zealand’s (NZ) natural and cultural landscapes. The Spatial Awareness Project short film sets out to explore and challenge New Zealands's land use classifications and the values that underpin them. As both an educational resource and a community discussion prompt, the film offers questions - rather than answers - to environmental problems and the ways in which we might solve them.

The Director: The Spatial Awareness Project short film set out to visually represent the main land use categories in Aotearoa New Zealand and question the values that underpin this classification system. Filmed at over thirty locations across the country, the film showcases a variety of examples of each land use category, incorporating private, iwi (tribal), and publicly administered land and water. In the beginning, our goal was to showcase different land use types and the stories that go along with them (through a complimentary podcast series) to students who had rarely traveled outside their hometowns. We hoped that by bringing these places, stories and questions into the classroom we might create space for discussions that could bridge the disconnects between our students: generational, rural/urban, farmer/climate activist, etc. Yet, the film's narrative is ultimately informed by those podcast interviews, the team's own experiences and academic research, and my conversations with the landowners at each filming location. Over time, it became less about pointing out 'bad' land use types or highlighting a particular alternative to the land use classification system and more about raising awareness of those disconnects ... about sparking conversations in the broader public sphere that might lead to new collaborative solutions.

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