Pacific Launch of Deep Rising
This past week on Tuesday at the Empire Cinema we launched the documentary called Deep Rising. This thought-provoking movie, narrated by Jason Momoa of “Aquaman” fame, dives down to the depths of the ocean to investigate the future plans for mining the seabed for valuable metals. It covers the potential impacts of the mining process, and looks at some of the deep sea biodiversity that would be impacted by the mining process.
We promoted the film widely among delegates and other guests who were attending the Pacific Island Forum. We were very fortunate to get President Whipps from Palau to share some opening remarks about deep seabed mining. In his address he said “we, of course Palau, and other Pacific Island countries, and many other countries around the world, asked for a moratorium (on deep seabed mining). The moratorium is really to allow for the proper research to be done, and not to destroy something that we can never bring back”.
Before the screening, Joey Tau from the Pacific Network for Globalisation (PANG) based in Suva and Alanna Smith , Director of Te Ipukarea Society, provided some opening remarks. It was these 2 organisations, together with Deep Rising, that arranged for this first ever screening of the documentary to be held here in Rarotonga.
The screening was also attended by the Vanuatu Minister for Climate Change, Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo Hazards, and Environment Ralph Regenvanu, who made closing remarks also in support of a moratorium at the end of the movie.
Other leaders at the screening included the President of New Caledonia Louis Mapou, Secretary of Foreign Affairs for French Polynesia Dr Mareva Lechat Kitalong, Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland, Director General of Melanesian Spearhead Group Leonard Louma, Pacific Ocean’s Commissioner Dr Filimon Manoni, Palau Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment Steven Victor, Ambassador Viktor Vavricka from Switzerland, and Special Envoy to the Pacific for Switzerland Emmanuel Bichet. Members of the United States delegation were also in attendance, including U.S Special Envoy to the Pacific Frankie Reed.
The film was very well attended by Forum guests as well as the general public. Also in attendance were staff from the Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Office and from some of the seabed mining exploration companies. Most of those that attended thoroughly enjoyed the film, and found it very informative. The film painted a very different picture around seabed mining than that which is provided by the Cook Islands Government during their stakeholder consultations around the country, or the companies themselves during their public engagement. We would encourage the Government to include this movie in their presentations in future, as it would help provide a balanced view on deep seabed mining to the public. If Te Ipukarea Society could afford the airfares, we would certainly be taking this movie to all the islands of the Cook Islands.
After the movie, informal discussions were held over the road from the cinema at Trader Jacks. There was a lot of positive feedback received about the movie. We would like to thank the Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington New Zealand for picking up the tab at Trader Jacks.
A second screening was held the following night, Wednesday. This was also very well attended, and time was made after the screening for a question and answer session, with questions being fielded by Alanna. This session was very well utilised, with many of the attendees expressing their frustration with the process that was pushing deep seabed mining ahead in the country despite widespread opposition.
If you missed either of these 2 screenings, there will be a third screening at the Empire Cinema on Thursday the 16th November at 6pm, to celebrate Deep Day.
We would like to especially thank the management of the Empire Cinema for bearing with us while we worked on getting a file format that the cinema projector could handle!
If you would like to host your own screening of this movie, you can contact Te Ipukarea Society for more information or visit https://www.deeprising.com/host-screening