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Last Paradise

1h 30m Documentary, Sport 2009

A zealous, ingenious cinematographer from an early age, physicist Clive Neeson captured the story of how New Zealand became the world capital of adventure, in 45 years of stunning original footage.

Neeson’s parents filmed wild animals on safari in East Africa whilst John Wayne was filming “Hatari”. Moving to New Zealand in 1961 the Neeson boys discovered an even better wilderness: one they could actually play in, meeting likeminded kids including AJ Hackett and Allan Byrne who would later become the pioneers of extreme sports.

At 9 years old, Clive sold empty bottles to afford his first cinema experience – Hatari. Awestruck at the drama of closeup danger on the big screen, he began saving to buy and repair a broken cine camera and start his own movie about “inventing adventure” in New Zealand, and designed special camera rigs to get closer to the action.

With tent and backpack, the filming quest continued through the 1970’s to Australia, Bali, Spain, Portugal and Mexico discovering secret paradises long before tourism. When these maverick mates were faced with the challenge of finding careers, an uncanny fusion of Kiwi ingenuity and the scientific legacy of Ernest Rutherford gave birth to a new global concept in adventure and tourism.

Decades later, during the making of_ Lord of the Rings_, Clive worked as consultant physicist with the Weta Digital team who tested their technology using his footage. They were so impressed with the film quality and content that they invited him to restore his whole archive and fulfil his childhood dream in creating Last Paradise.


Sky Solbach (Sky Solbach) , A J Hackett (A J Hackett) , Allan Byrne (Allan Byrne) , Ton Deken (Ton Deken) , Kristin Boese (Kristin Boese) , Dave Smithers (Dave Smithers) , Jeff Campbell (Jeff Cambell)


Clive Neeson


Clive Neeson

Director of Photography

Clive Neeson


Katrina Jones




New Zealand

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