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Hot Earth

Short Film (Full Length) – 1955

This 1955 film looks at the “savage” geology of the North Island volcanic region, and its human settlement. Te Arawa myth introduces the steaming valleys of volcano and quake god Rūaumoko. The film then surveys geothermal activity and its exploitation by Māori and Pākehā, from cooking to heating hospital radiators. It ends with a dramatic geyser display in front of tourists. Guide Rangi cameos. It screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival, and was John Feeney’s last National Film Unit gig before directing Oscar-nominated films for the National Film Board of Canada.

The sacred fire which no man has lighted.
– From the narration, on the geothermal region

Key Cast & Crew

John Feeney

Director, Editor, Writer

John Crawford

Sound

Dick Crone

Camera

Randal Beattie

Camera

Paul Ricketts

Narrator

William Austin

Narrator