Private Project

The Art of Recovery

The Art of Recovery celebrates the creativity that spontaneously emerged in post-quake Christchurch, and explores the tension between this organic grassroots movement and Central Government's corporate-driven urban plan. It's bohemia verses big business, and tells an uplifting story of resilience that informs a greater conversation about how we live together and how our cities could be.

  • Peter Young
    The Last Ocean
  • Peter Young
    The Last Ocean
  • Tracy Roe
    The Last Ocean
  • Gaylene Preston
    Executive Producer
  • Gaylene Barnes
  • Scott Flyger
  • Chris Sinclair
    Sound Editor
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 25 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 13, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    398,000 NZD
  • Country of Origin:
    New Zealand
  • Country of Filming:
    New Zealand
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • New Zealand International Film Festival
    August 13, 2015
    International Premiere
    Los Angeles
    United States
    October 6, 2016
    North American Premiere
    Best in Festival
    October 7, 2016
    European Premiere
    Grand Prize
    Te Aroha
    New Zealand
    October 30, 2016
Director Biography - Peter Young


Peter Young is one of New Zealand's leading documentary makers and has worked for 20 years both as director and cameraman. In 2012 Peter was named New Zealand Independent Screen Producer of the Year. He has credits in well over a hundred documentaries. His first feature documentary The Last Ocean (2012), was a film that spanned seven years and developed into a highly successful international environmental campaign. The film screened at over 50 festivals and won more than a dozen international awards.

His latest feature The Art of Recovery (2015), is a story he was compelled to tell about his Earthquake ravaged hometown of Christchurch New Zealand.

Peter Young AWARDS

2014 The Last Ocean
Stelvio National Park Award Sondrio Festival
Wildscreen Festival Jury’s Special Selection for Screening
Grand Prize Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films
Best Conservation Film New York WILD Film Festival
Spirit of Activism Award Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Best Environmental Film Waimea Ocean Film Festival
Peoples’ Choice Waimea Ocean Film Festival
Best Film Ocean Environment Waimea Ocean Film Festival
2013 The Last Ocean
Special Consideration Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
Best Feature Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
Best New Zealand Film Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
Best Science Communication Film Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
Best Call2Action Film Boulder International Film Festival
Royal Reel Award Documentary Canada International Film Festival
Best Documentary Real to Reel International Film Festival
Moving Mountains Award MountainFilm in Telluride

2012 SPADA Independent Producer of the Year
New Zealand Screen Producer and Development Association Awards

2009 Best Information and Lifestyle Show: Hunger for the Wild
Qantas New Zealand Film & Television Awards
Best Camera (Documentary): Hunger for the Wild
Qantas New Zealand Film & Television Awards

2007 Best Factual Series: Hunger for the Wild
Best Camera – Documentary: Country Calendar Cray Coast
New Zealand Screen Awards

2005 Best Camera – Documentary: Explorers
New Zealand Screen Awards
Best Camera Documentary: Country Calendar Erewhon
Qantas Media Awards

2003 Finalist - Best Documentary: Chasing Giants On the trail of the Giant Squid
International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula Montana

2002 Best Camera: Country Calendar Mt Ida Muster
New Zealand Television Awards

2000 Best Camera: Country Calendar Yankee Harvest
New Zealand Television Awards 

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Director Statement

The stark beauty of the ruins, the colourful art and daily life amidst the chaos, create the utterly fascinating urban landscape in which this story unfolds…

Being in Christchurch at the time of the earthquakes, I experienced first-hand the upheaval and trauma they caused the community. But if there was a silver lining to that day, it was the way it brought people together from all levels of society.

That spirit continued long after the quakes and what I found interesting was that in many cases, it manifested itself through people’s art. The transformation of the cities energy and culture was quite remarkable, so living just a few blocks from central city, I decided to pick up my camera and start documenting it.

First and foremost, The Art of Recovery celebrates a collection of creative expressions that grew chaotically and spontaneously amongst the ruins as the city transitioned from a disaster zone into a community once again.

People found strength and community in the simplest of places – a mural on a concrete wall, a dance floor among the rubble, a fridge turned into a free book exchange, a memorial that volunteers made out of 185 white painted chairs.

From simple acts of kindness through to large scale works of art, each is a gift to a rejuvenating city, but the greatest gift is the movement itself. The temporary or transitional projects made us question the old and gave promise to the new. It made us think about how we live together and what cities are.

These discussion have relevance for anyone living in any city around the world. I hope you can benefit from the ideas that this story throws into the mix, without having to live through the Earthquakes that we did.

Peter Young