Born to wildlife cinematographers, Clive Neeson was capturing surf and ski adventures on film as a teenager. 45 years later Neeson’s footage makes up the bulk of his feature-length documentary Last Paradise, which follows Kiwi extreme sports innovators and the changing face of the planet. Trained as a physicist, Neeson has worked globally as a consultant in technology innovation, and catastrophe investigation.
I was drawn to things that were scientific, places that were unknown, activities that were not known then, and people who we met as kids but went on to form these new sports which are now the hub of New Zealand’s industry, like bungee jumping and rafting. Clive Neeson, in an interview with Lumiere website
Forty-five years in the making, this documentary looks at the history of Kiwi adventure sport. Via spectacular — original and archive — footage, it follows the pioneers (AJ Hackett et al) from sheep farm-spawned maverick surf kids to pre-Lonely Planet OEs chasing the buzz; and the innovative toys and pursuits that resulted. From the Hamilton Jet to the bungee, No.8 fencing wire smarts are iterated. The exhilaration of adventure is underpinned by a poignant ecological message — that the places where the paradise chasers could express themselves are now in peril.