Nov 4: Movie- TAKING BACK OUR BEACH with Director Q & A

When disaster strikes a community arises! Taking Back Our Beach’ opens in New Zealand cinemas from October 5, 2023, which is also the 12th anniversary of the Rena grounding in 2011 on Otaiti/Astrolabe Reef.   

Selected for Doc Edge Festival 2023

For our Raglan screening on November 4th we are fortunate to have the film’s director, Anton Steel along for a Question & Answer session after the 7.30pm screening.

TAKING BACK OUR BEACH |2023 | Documentary Exempt 87 mins | NZ

PRODUCER: Rosalie Liddle Crawford

2023 | Documentary Exempt 87 mins | NZ |

Special Q & A screening Saturday 4th November 7.30pm,

Ticket prices: $16 Adults, $14 Concession and $9 Children. RCAC Members $12.

Raglan Movies at the Old School, 5 Stewart St, Raglan 3225.

Book online:, call into the Old School office Mon-Fri 10am to 2pm. (Office closed public holidays)

Door sales from 30 mins before session times.

Licensed bar & homemade snacks on sale.


This is a film about the response by a community to New Zealand’s largest environmental disaster, seen through the eyes of that community.

When the MV Rena grounded on Ōtāiti (Astrolabe reef) on 5 October 2011 it wasn’t just the iconic New Zealand coastline and wildlife that were threatened by the ensuing black waves of oil and debris, but also a lifestyle treasured by its residents. The disaster reveals a deep connection to the environment in both local Māori and Pakeha (European descendants) alike.

When floundering bureaucrats initially ignore the local advice and knowledge that could have largely avoided the disaster, and then are painfully slow to clean up the overwhelming mess, the community steps in, taking matters into their own hands. A groundswell of volunteers goes out daily to help save wildlife and clean up the massive field of oil and debris strewn along the coast.

The film captures the shock, anger and grief driven into the heart of the local community, but also the humour, purpose and overwhelming positivity when people join together with a common goal.

In the aftermath of the clean-up, a further battle to remove the remains of the wreck ensues, with community unity threatened through the overpowering insurers and ship owners. The mauri (life force) of a national taonga (treasure) Ōtāiti is forever altered, however the power of a simple act of forgiveness shown to the ship’s scapegoated Filipino crew offers a beautiful way forward to growth and recovery.

From septuagenarian widowers chasing oiled penguins around their living rooms to a 6-metre long barbecue feeding volunteers for free, to youth impersonating army personnel in order to be allowed onto the beach to clean up oil, the documentary is made up of interviews with 35 local people (iwi, retirees, volunteers, wildlife leaders, marine experts, small business owners and community leaders).

A wealth of never-before-seen stock footage and amazing photos, augmented by re-enactments and CGI graphics brings these stories to life and paints a picture of “a great moment in human history” (the late Brian Rogers, Owner Sun Media / Interviewee).

PRODUCER: Rosalie Liddle Crawford

2023 | Documentary Exempt 87 mins | NZ |

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