Stations of the Cross in story about migrant workers in Southland

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Bill Morris, is a freelance film-maker, musician, writer, and photographer.

Lottie Hedley is a freelance photographer.

They are writing a story about Southland’s migrant communities for New Zealand Geographic.

On Good Friday they joined a group taking part in the Stations of the Cross in Lumsden.

This is the seventh time Filipino Catholics from throughout Southland have organised this event.

Before their visit to Lumsden Morris and Hedley had already visited Knapdale, Invercargill.

“The story is about various migrant communities in small-town New Zealand, and especially about the Filipino community in Southland,” Morris said.

The theme of the story is the way that migrant communities are changing the face of small towns and rural New Zealand.

“I am seeing how incredibly positive the effect migrant communities are bringing to these towns through the churches and with schools gaining more pupils and students now growing up in a multicultural environment,” Morris says.

“This seems like a positive thing to me.”

The boom in the Filipino population of Southland is largely driven by working opportunities in dairying, the largest employer in the agricultural sector.

Between 2010/11 and 2014/15 (years to June), an average of 322 temporary work visas were granted each year to Filipinos for work in Southland as dairy farm workers, as registered in the Immigration New Zealand database.

But this is likely to be an undercount since many work visas granted did not have the region of work specified.

Morris has worked a lot for Natural History New Zealand over the last 10 years.

His last big job for them was shooting the Auckland Islands episode of Our Big Blue Backyard.

Another of his documentaries is the feature-length The Sound of Her Guitar, which is the story of New Zealand songwriter Donna Dean and her struggle to escape a life of alcohol and violence to follow her musical dreams.

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News category: New Zealand.

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