Gavin Hipkins

This Fine Island (2012)

12 min 10 secSingle channel / transferred to Digital Video / Colour / Stereo

This Fine Island revisits Charles Darwin's journey to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand in 1835. In this poetic adaption, Darwin's nineteenth-century travel writing in The Voyage of the Beagle becomes a vehicle for present day tourisms, travel romance, and racial othering, against the backdrop of New Zealand's lush landscape.

Shot in 16mm colour negative film, the aesthetic of This Fine Island calls on the look of key postwar nation-building New Zealand films including John O'Shea's landmark bicultural romance Broken Barrier (1952) that engaged pictorial traditions of New Zealand's native landscape representation.

“I like to think of This Fine Island as 'a postcolonial ballad,’ and the film’s commissioned folk songs Sweet Joan and I Saw Three Ships (performed by Jenny Lange and Dean Roberts) are contemporaneous with Darwin's voyage.”

Artist Statement

Other works by Gavin Hipkins

CIRCUIT is the
leading voice
for artist moving image
in Aotearoa New Zealand,
distributing works,
critical review and
which reflect our unique, contemporary
South Pacific context.