Screened as part of NZIFF 2012

Song of the Kauri 2012

Directed by Mathurin Molgat

Mathurin Molgat’s comprehensive documentary about the past and future of the mighty kauri centres on an inspiring artisan: Northland luthier Laurie Williams.

100 minutes HDCAM

Director, Producer


Swami Hansa


Annie Collins


John Patrick


Karamea Davis
Laurie Williams
George Kerr
Jackson Browne
Miranda Adams
Tiki Taane

World Premiere

SkyCity Theatre, 28 July 2012


Filmmaker Mathurin Molgat tells us that New Zealand lost 96% of its native kauri forests through felling and fire between 1820 and 1974. Land clearances account for much more of that statistic than any timber trade. Molgat’s documentary is a labour of clear-eyed love, addressing the politics of exotic tree plantations in a land where the native species are uniquely beautiful and may possess a commercial potential that has never been explored. But does any government plan in the present for a harvest 60 years hence? Without demonising the perpetrators, Molgat explains the history of destruction, then finds inspiration in a man whose craft is dependent on chopping down more trees – judiciously and one at a time. Northland’s Laurie Williams is a luthier of international repute. We watch him working with the kaitiaki of the forest to select and fell a tree that will provide the material for his eagerly sought‑after guitars and violins. Philosophers, musicians, economists, historians, scientists, professors and woodsmen amplify Molgat’s lyrical, holistic treatise.