Land of the Long White Cloud

Florian Habicht gets up close and personal with the surf-casters on Ninety Mile Beach in his latest celebration of life in the Far North.
Director: Florian Habicht
Year: 2009
Country: New Zealand
Running time: 75 mins

New Zealand
Photography: Florian Habicht, Niamh Peren, Christopher Pryor
Editor: Peter O'Donoghue
Sound: Ray Beentjes
Music: Marc Chesterman

With: Ossie Perrie, Shane Storey, Wiremu Henare, Heather Hales

Florian Habicht describes his latest exposé of the recreational habits of Northlanders as a ‘sequel of sorts’ to his classic Kaikohe Demolition. Claimed to be the largest surfcasting event in the world, the annual Ninety Mile Beach Red Snapper Classic attracts hundreds of anglers for five days every February to compete for prizes in excess of $250,000, with the biggest snapper taking out a serious $50,000. Habicht joins them, camera in hand, full of questions about what they might be thinking as they engage in this elemental and apparently very relaxing pursuit. How will they spend the prize money? Do they believe in an afterlife? Habicht relishes the individual flavour of every frank response. There are interludes of boisterous carousing, grueling scenes of snapper Passion, and long and lovely shots of the long and lovely beach. The amiable atmosphere of tolerance and unpretentious philosophising is so salty and true and rousing that you could bottle it, call it Kiwiade, and sell it by the crateload to homesick expatriates. — BG

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