What does the sport of outdoor curling (think bowls on ice) have in common with climate change?

The connection is subtly revealed in ‘Gone Curling’ which has just won the best New Zealand short film at the 2012 Documentary Edge Film Festival.

Film makers Rachael Patching and Roland Kahurangi have made a delightful study of the people and the traditions which keep outdoor curling a vital and colourful aspect of life in Central Otago. Naseby now has an indoor curling rink which means games can be played any day of the year although at least one of the stalwarts of the outdoor game scoffs at the very thought and says he’ll never put a foot inside.

This film helps explains why the outdoor game is held in such high regard. When the conditions are right the whole region stops work for the Baxter Cup tournament. There’s even talk of funerals being postponed to avoid any interruptions in play. But despite the best efforts of the curling fraternity they could be facing a losing battle as changing climate means the lakes they use are freezing over less frequently.

Not that everyone sees climate change as the reason behind this. When the movie premiered in Naseby, Rachael says it received an enthusiastic response but there were a few “hecklers” in the crowd who didn’t like the climate change reference preferring to attribute warmer winters to a cyclical weather pattern for now.

Regardless of your point of view this is great storytelling and film making. It’s unique, beautifully filmed and mainland humour runs throughout.  

The film will screen three more times during the festival which has just started in Wellington. You can check out the trailer for it below. The film makers also hope it will get an audience on the international film circuit.


Gone curling has been accepted into the Edge Film Festival and Reel Earth Film Festival.

Directed and produced by
Rachael Patching and Roland Kahurungi