If you’ve read the Prologue in The Wideawake Hat you would have met Hinewai, the maori girl who catches an eel for supper. Hinewai, who’s name means ‘water maiden’, we find out later, is Atewhai’s mother.

Hinewai is also the name of an ecological restoration project on Banks Peninsula, privately owned and managed by the Maurice White Native Forest Trust, but freely open the public on foot. It is a magical and beautiful place. Hinewai celebrates its 30th birthday this year and a film has been made to celebrate. I recommend it to you.

Fools & Dreamers is a 30-minute documentary telling the story of Hinewai Nature Reserve, on Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula, and its kaitiaki/manager of 30 years, botanist Hugh Wilson. We learn about the commitment of Hugh and the Maurice White Native Forest Trust to regenerate marginal, hilly farmland into native forest, using a minimal interference method that allows nature to do the work, giving life to over 1500 hectares of native forest, waterways, and the creatures that live within them.


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