Fools & Dreamers

Regenerating a Native Forest

"Fools & Dreamers" is a 30-minute documentary telling the story of Hinewai Nature Reserve, on New Zealand’s Banks Peninsula, and its kaitiaki/manager of 30 years, botanist Hugh Wilson.

When, in 1987, Hugh let the local community know of his plans to allow the introduced weed gorse to grow as a nurse canopy to regenerate farmland into native forest, people were not only skeptical but outright angry – the plan was the sort to be expected only of “fools and dreamers”.

Now considered a hero locally and across the country, Hugh oversees 1500 hectares resplendent in native forest, where birds and other wildlife are abundant and 47 known waterfalls are in permanent flow. He has proven without doubt that nature knows best – and that he is no fool.

Director(s): Jordan Osmond, Antoinette Wilson
Script: Jordan Osmond, Antoinette Wilson, Nick Tucker
Production: Antoinette Wilson, Quatro Trust
Music: Karl Steven, Ariana Tikao
Actors: Hugh Wilson, Tricia Hewlett, Bob Masefield
Year: 2019
Duration: 29 min
Our age recommendation: 12
Language (audio): English
Language (subtitles): English
Country of origin: New Zealand
Shooting Locations: New Zealand
Screening rights: Happen Films ()
  • This film can be watched for free at the top.


Main topic(s): Permaculture Human Potential
Secondary topics: biodiversity renewables fossil fuel climate natural disasters regeneration forest wildlife
Mentions: Native forest conservation botanist Hinewai environmentalism forestry agriculture

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