New Zealand Youth at the Paris Climate Negotiations and Their Documentary Film

by Catherine Iorns
(New Zealand)

Simon Hillier

Simon Hillier

Young New Zealanders have been well-represented at COP21, observing and documenting it from their (youth) perspective, and building up notes and footage for a documentary film. They are there to learn about - and report on the progress of - the international climate negotiations.

Amazingly - for first-timers at one of these events - one of their efforts has already made world news for some of its coverage of the negotiations. As Buzzfeed notes, Ryan Mearns and Hamish Laing “22 and 24 respectively, have become unlikely hero-archivists at the climate conference thanks to a sprawling, very subjective, and GIF-filled Google doc.”

What has made it particularly notable is its “twentysomething dudes” approach, with the funniest and most irreverent take on such serious negotiations people have ever seen.

Documentary Film

Simon Hillier and Lottie Boardman from Wellington, also in the delegation, are providing the content for a student-run website on the Paris text as well as making a documentary film.

Simon, of Victoria University of Wellington, says that he has amassed notebooks full of observations on the negotiations he’s observed, as well as the work gone on behind the scenes. And it started before they even got to Paris, with a climate conference in Cambridge, the London Climate March, and Simon being interviewed about it all on a London radio station.


The documentary film project is perhaps their biggest undertaking. The aim of the film is to convey the scale of the conference and insights into their experience as youth observers at this historic conference - including about the positions taken on the agreement and the process. (Catherine Iorns, their supervisor and fellow Climate Reality leader, says "Think of 'The Island President' from a youth perspective.")

However, they have had to start a crowd-funder campaign to enable this project to go ahead. While they set themselves only 2 weeks to raise the money, now there is one day left to go and still over $1500 (NZ) to raise. And the way this crowd-funder works is that none of the money is released at all unless the minimum pledge target is met. So Catherine stresses that they really need all the help they can get.

=> Please visit their Pledgeme campaign page if you can help support their movie – even $10 helps (and $50 gets you credit in the movie).

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