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Fish poisoning threatens a traditional Rarotongan way of life

Documentary Scholarship 2011 entry

WORLDWIDE | Thursday, 16 June 2011 | Views [575] | Scholarship Entry

Mataiti inspired my video—his positive energy despite being paralyzed from fish poisoning, is remarkable. He opened my eyes to life in the Cook Islands and the effects of polluted water.

My vacation on this island quickly turned into a project: to learn as much as possible about this illness.

After speaking to Mataiti, I interviewed pig farmers, local villagers and doctors to find out all I could about how ciguatera, a food borne illness caused by toxic fish, was affecting people’s way of life and the traditional fish-based Rarotongan diet

This is my first documentary and after my experience on the Cook Islands, I see more documentaries in my future. I am a journalist but it was only now that I've been able to combine my words with footage.

I’m interested in this scholarship because I’m passionate about travel, exploring new cultures, the environment and marine debris! In 2009 I lived on a boat for four weeks in the Pacific to write about the Garbage Patch for the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/10/science/10patch.html.

This scholarship would mean a tremendous amount to me. It would help get me started as a serious documentary filmmaker—an opportunity that’d never seemed possible before.

Tags: #2011Video, Travel Documentary Scholarship 2011

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