David's Blog

World Cup Fever hits Kurow


We are all very proud in Kurow that All Blacks Captain Ritchie McCaw comes form Kurow and played his first rugby with the Kurow Rugby Club.

In honour of the All Black’s success in the Rugby World Cup, in place of Kurow’s traditional straw family, we have our own special tribute from “Ritchie McCaw Country”.

A Photographer's Paradise!


Armed with my Canon Digital SLR Camera, I set out to capture something of the magic of the winter wonderland that is all around us in Kurow. Today was the best of winter, polar blast has eased, leaving a sharp crisp today with a beautiful blue sky. This seems to be so typical of winter days in Kurow.

I headed up Cattle Creak Road to the Awakino Ski-field and came home with a portfolio of stunning images.


PRIME at Benmore

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PRIME (Primary Response in Medical Emergencies) continue to on of the most challenging aspects of my work at Kurow, but also one of the most rewarding. There can be few situations where one has such an opportunity to make a difference to someone else’s life.

Waitaki Valley in Winter


The Waitaki Valley has a special magic in wintertime, especially on a crisp and clear day like today. With the hectic pace of life recently, it has been hard to find the time to truly explore the region as we had planned when we first came to Kurow! Even today’s family outing had an ulterior motive, a recce to look at possible locations for my next film...

But there was time during the day to be still and reflect on the majesty of the snow clad mountains and the vast lakes. Both my children have developed a keen interest in photography and it is great to see them honing their skills with such magnificent scenery!


See our Waitaki Valley in Winter Photo Gallery.

Elephant Rocks


Life has been so hectic recently, with the completion of Amiri & Aroha and the excitement of our Best Shorts competition success, that we have not had the chance to explore the Kurow area as we had planned when we arrived here in January. With the Queen’s Birthday long weekend off duty, we set out to explore the beautiful Waitaki Valley.

High on our list was a visit to the Elephant Rocks near Duntroon. This magnificent site was used as the location for Aslam’s camp in Andrew Adamson’s film of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The location has so much atmosphere; you can almost feel the presence of Aslam and the White Witch hiding behind the rocks!

It is wonderful news that Andrew Adamson is returning to our district to shoot his new film Mister Pip in Oamaru in August. This is great news for Oamaru and the Waitaki region. I do hope to have the opportunity to see this great director at work.

Andrew Adamson, who brought us Shrek as well as The Chronicles of Narnia, is a Kiwi icon and something of an unsung hero. It will be great to have him back home in New Zealand. Regarding Mister Pip, Adamson says he started chasing the rights for the book immediately after reading it. "I read it on a flight back to LA and I actually got to the other end and started chasing the rights. It's about the power of imagination, about the power of story. It's about the power of being able to use your imagination to overcome obstacles."

I am really looking forward to Mister Pip.

PRIME Call at the Kurow Bridges


One of the excitements - and challenges - of my new work at Kurow is responding to PRIME (Primary Response in Medical Emergencies) calls. No amount of training can prepare you for the adrenaline rush when the PRIME pager goes off!

Today we had two PRIME calls, both requiring the rescue helicopter. I was called to a boating accident at the Kurow bridges where a boatsman had crashed into the bridge and sustained chest injuries.

Our Arrival in Kurow


A New Year and a new beginning...

Kurow’s renowned Straw Family greeted us as we arrived in Kurow today. I remember taking photographs of this icon of the Kurow summer when I first came here in January 1995.

Kurow has drawn me back after all these years and today marks an exciting new start for both me professionally and for my family.

Sixteen years on, little seems to have changed as we explored Kurow.

It feels good to be back in Kurow and I look forward to the challenges ahead.


New Directions in My Life


After fifteen wonderful years at Te Karaka, it is time for new challenges.

Leaving Te Karaka has been a very difficult decision, but the opportunity to pursue two projects that are both very close to my heart has proved to great to resist.

I have secured funding through the World Organization of Family Doctors for my project to develop family medicine in a rural part of Cambodia. This work promises to make a real difference to some of the most disadvantaged communities on our planet.

I have also promised myself that I will have another film in the can by the end of 2010. Since my teenage years, film making has been an integral part of my life and I have been a prolific independent film maker over the years. Yet life has been so hectic that it is some years since my last film.

So I am thrilled to be back behind the camera, shooting a distinctly New Zealand story set in the beautiful East Cape which has been my home for these fifteen years.

I am indeed fortunate to be able to realise these two projects which I have dreamt about for so long.

I plan to spend the next six months working on these two projects. The pre-production planing for my new film Amiri & Aroha is almost complete and am currently working on the casting. I hope to start shooting in mid September, shortly after finishing work at Te Karaka. The principal location, the Rere falls, is close to Te Karaka and I am hoping that many of my former patients will be “extras” in the film.

The Cambodia project is also taking shape. I am working with a number of professors of family medicine in Cambodia and hope to progress the work of setting up community clinics in the rural areas of most extreme need by the end of the year.

On completion of these two projects, I am planning to return to rural practice and am currently looking at Kurow, the practice in South Canterbury which first awakened my love of rural practice.

It has been a tremendous privilege to be the doctor at Te Karaka for the past fifteen years and these have proved some of the happiest and most challenging years of my professional life. Both my children were born during my time at Te Karaka and we have always felt a part of the local community. I extent my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to the people of Te Karaka for making us so welcome.