In October of 1969, a group of concerned locals gathered together at a house in Invercargill, putting in motion a plan to fight the proposed raising of Lake Manapouri as part of the Manapouri hydropower project. The campaign launched by the Save Lake Manapouri Committees throughout New Zealand demonstrated the value of grassroots protest in influencing Government policy and came to symbolise a sea change in New Zealanders' personal engagement with public environmental policy.
Through his archival and sculptural practice, Daegan Wells explores storytelling as a way of illuminating key political, environmental, social and cultural events from our recent history. A Gathering Distrust explores the state of tension between the Save Lake Manapouri supporters, and the National Government under Jack Marshall in the build-up to the 1972 election. Wells centres his research around the contested foreshore of the lake utilising video installation, and ceramic works formed from clay sourced from the shoreline of Lake Manapouri.