Central to the Soul

2019 | NZ

  • Director: Bill Morris
  • Idea: Steve Thomas, Arts on Tour.
  • Performers: Hopetoun Brown, Adam McGrath, Helen Webby , Michael Hurst in Roxburgh, and Rollicking Entertainment.
  • Karakia: Waiariki Parata-Taiapa (recorded in Karitange, Otago)
  • Selected for the 2019 Doc Edge Film Festival
  • An Arts On Tour NZ project.
  • Funding support: Central Lakes Trust, Creative NZ, Otago Community Trust.



27 Nov, Wednesday
4 Dec, Wednesday
Back in 2016 Bill Morris’ biopic of singer-songwriter Donna Dean, The Sound of Her Guitar, was among the award winners at Doc Edge. In his latest film, director Morris explores the resilient communities of Central Otago, as they gather to enjoy performances at various venues through the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes district.

Filmed throughout 2018, this is a gentle excursion into the heart of a region that has become a poster child for social, economic and environmental change.

Central to the Soul is much more than a music film – it’s an exploration of community and its importance to the well-being of the people who call this region home.

The film looks at how Central Otago communities have adapted to the major social, political and geographical changes of the past 50 years. From the damming of the Clutha river to the influx of viticulture, dairy farming, mass tourism and investment home-buying, the socio-economic fabric of the region has been subject to massive upheavals.

Morris punctuates his film with performances from Hopetoun Brown in Tarras Hall, Adam McGrath in Arrowtown, Helen Webby in Bannockburn, Michael Hurst in Roxburgh and Rollicking Entertainment at large.

lovingly displays the region’s gorgeous vistas and cared-for community gathering places in settlements like Tarras, Roxburgh, Millers Flat, Bannockburn and Arrowtown. James Croot, Stuff.co.nz

In each location, a local becomes our guide, while a visiting performer (everyone from Michael Hurst to Adam McGrath and the members of Hopetoun Brown) offers insight into what the programme means to them and the community benefits it offers.” James Croot, Stuff.co.nz