HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

“Itu’s’ Bones” TV Premier
An independent documentary filmed entirely on Aitutaki is set to premier on Cooks Islands TV

The independent documentary film “Itu’s Bones” tells the story of expert net fisherman Itu Davey as he makes the journey from subsistence gill-netter to pro fly fishing guide.
Itu’s Bones is a compelling, and at times, controversial story that features gorgeous images of Aitutaki and truly incredible Bonefish action on fly.
A project driven by the Ministry of Marine Resources, “The Aitutaki Bonefish Management Plan” has seen over 700 hectares of Aitutaki lagoon go into reserves and protected areas to enhance habitat and protect the species.
The film documents the fisheries project and Itu’s progress as he makes the challenging transition from netter to guide.
Ben Ponia, Secretary, Marine Resources has this to say about the project “We believe that the Aitutaki Bonefish project has set a new standard for conservation and management. It has broken the spiral of the species demise and it’s a compelling reason for never giving up the challenge of trying to manage our marine resources”
The documentary has been produced by New Zealand based company On the Fly Productions, a small film making company run by husband and wife team Carl McNeil and Jeanie Ackley.
“We’re particularly proud of this production as not only has the film made a positive impact in helping protect a species and establish fishing reserves, it shows just how much a group of people can achieve when they they put their minds to it.
We take our hats off to Ben Ponia and the staff at the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine resources - their dedication and hard work have reaped astounding results for a project that, at times, has been somewhat controversial.
The Ministry and people of Aitutaki have shown tremendous foresight and fortitude to make decisions that very few larger countries & corporations have had the courage to make. They have set a shining example of what can be achieved in establishing a sustainable recreational sports fishery.
Of all the outcomes derived from the Aitutaki Bonefish project perhaps the most compelling is what Itu himself has achieved.
From selling five Bonefish for $20 dollars at the weekly market, Itu now runs a successful catch and release guiding business. He has gone on to run two flats skiffs and employs his two brothers, Tia and Rua.
It’s a wonderful story” said McNeil.
An internet trailer for the self funded film has so far racked up in excess of 50,000 views and is receiving critical acclaim from anglers and fishing magazines alike. More recently, Itu’s Bones was accepted to feature in the U.S based “Blue Ocean Film Festival” in Monterey, and has proceeded to the final round of judging. In March this year, Itu’s Bones was also invited to enter the prestigious Raindance Film Festival in the UK.
Although the film was essentially self funded, it could not have been made without the help and support of the Ministry of Marine Resources and local businesses such as Mike Henry at Tamanu Beach.
“Working in a very small team with a very limited budget on a remote Pacific Island is not an easy thing to do, if it was not for local support, life would have been very much more difficult - we have been shown wonderful generosity and hospitality, it’s been very humbling” said McNeil.
The Film has been donated to Cook Islands TV for airing later in May and will be available for sale at various Cook Island outlets.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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