Weekend Sun   

Funding boost for Rena documentary

The first photo of the Rena grounded on Astrolabe that was published to the world on SunLive.

Local filmmakers working on a documentary about the response to the Rena disaster are thanking the Bay of Plenty community for getting behind a crowdfunding campaign to help make the film.

With the goal of reaching $25,000 by 11pm on Christmas Eve, the six-week campaign hit the funding milestone with a few hours to spare.

Titled The Rena, The Reef and The Residents, the documentary will capture the memories and thoughts of some of the more than 8000 volunteers, local government officials, businesses, wildlife experts and iwi involved.

“It’s been fantastic to have Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana, Holland Beckett Law and Bay Conservation Alliance come on board as match funders during the campaign,” says co-producer Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

“And we are so thankful to all of our 127 donors for helping us not only reach our crowdfunding goal of $25,000, but push us beyond that to $25,560.”

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana contributed $5000, which was a tremendous boost towards the end of the campaign and attracted a flood of further funding from individuals, says Rosalie.

“Holland Beckett Law kicked off the campaign for us with a fantastic contribution of $2000, with Bay Conservation Alliance also joining as a match donor. And special thanks to Western Bay Wildlife and Bruce Banks from Western Bay Neighbourhood Support for their help and support. Bruce’s email campaign and contribution took us over the line.”

The funds are needed to cover the costs of editing and post-production. 

“The crowdfunding campaign also served another purpose we had, which was to find more people that we now plan to interview so we can uncover more of the unique stories that will enrich the documentary.”

Every financial donor will have their name included in the film credits, as well as those contributing in other ways.

“We have had people from all over the country contact us with footage, photos and their own individual accounts of things that happened during the community response to the Rena disaster.”

Two-minute teaser videos were released each week of the six-week campaign on SunLive, showcasing some of the interviews already completed and covering aspects of the iwi, government, community and wildlife response.

Executive producers and Sun Media directors Claire and Brian Rogers joined forces with Rosalie and director Anton Steel to make the documentary. Sun Media publishes The Weekend Sun newspaper and runs online news site SunLive - the first media outlet to break the news to the world that the Rena had run aground on Astrolabe Reef in October 2011.

The footage, as well as thousands of photos that Sun Media have archived, are being made available for the documentary which Rosalie and Anton plan to complete in 2022.

“The crowdfunding campaign has helped us to create some strong links and relationships with organisations, businesses, networks and individuals that will help build a groundswell of awareness about the documentary,” says Rosalie.

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