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A Broken Earth - Documentary

When an oil company moves in next door to a family farm, the residents challenge not only the oil company but the entire industry.

Official selection for the Doc Edge Film Festival 2020. Screening at from 12 June - 5 July 2020. 

Director and Cinematographer: James Muir

Producer and Editor: James Muir & Alison Titulaer

Executive Producers: Alex Lee and Dan Shanan - Doc Edge, Reiko Fukutake - Rei Foundation

All over the world Fossil Fuel industries have undermined communities and severely impacted the health of people and the planet.

In Taranaki, New Zealand the hunt is on for easy oil and gas. The benign rural pastures that surround the base of Mt Taranaki, where people have carved out a quiet living, are riddled with the scars of Fossil Fuel extraction. Sarah Roberts and David Morrison are environmental award winning farmers who have worked the land for generations. When an oil company moves in next door to their family farm, they are forced to deal with the effects of uncontrolled fracking and oil drilling along their quiet country road.


Experiencing choking fumes, polluted water, bleeding noses and the constant smell like nail-polish remover the pair take up a struggle to defend their land, their heritage and their livelihood. The ensuing investigations reveal the lack of local government oversight, the flawed regulatory system and the dangerously negligent industry. Meanwhile Fracking has spread quickly and oil companies have drilled under peoples homes, schools and towns.


Surrounded by oil and gas wells, Sarah and David continue their pursuit of justice for the climate, for people and for the land by investigating for other communities. What started out as resistance to the desecration of the local countryside becomes a revelation of a local government system designed to protect profit before people. In telling this story there is no hiding the fact that we rely on oil and gas and even as people oppose it, they have to live with it.

For the purposes of balanced reporting, Taranaki Regional Council has been contacted for comment. 

This response can be attributed to Fred McLay, Director-Resource Management, Taranaki Regional Council:


"The assertions in this film are unfounded. The Taranaki Regional Council does not and has not favoured any sector in its consenting or regulation, nor allowed reckless damage to the environment, nor manipulated the information it presents to the public. Numerous similar allegations have been made in previous years. Investigations by ourselves and others showed they were unfounded and often scurrilous.


The Council stands by its record. The Council meets, and in many cases excels in, all its duties and obligations under the RMA, and this has been confirmed in independent reviews by the Office of the Auditor-General and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. The Council’s monitoring and enforcement record and the quality of its public reporting also stand out in national comparisons. Consenting decisions and processes are subject to appeal, and all of the Council’s consenting decisions have been upheld when appealed to the Environment Court."

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