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Drums Across the Lagoon Short Film (Full Length) – 1960 Documentary

Drums Across the Lagoon

Short Film (Full Length) – 1960 Documentary

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This 1960 National Film Unit documentary visits the Cook Islands, a group of volcanic isles and coral atolls administered by New Zealand. Ron Bowie's film surveys the challenges of island life (sourcing fresh water, lack of timber for housing) as well as agriculture (coconuts), recreation and schooling. Though patronising — describing Rarotongan people as “the cheerful islander” — the narration confronts some impacts of modernity (eg the shift to European diet for dental health), and anticipates young people will be the islands' biggest export.

The drum dance is the real dance of the Cook Islands and they beat rhythms out on anything.
– From the narration