Caroline Fitzgerald has been granted one of the Fulbright New Zealand Travel Awards to present research into the relationship between Māori people and New England whalers for her documentary film project Black Sails, not to be confused with the starz TV series of the same name.
Fitzgerald’s was one of seven presented, specifically targeting NZ academics, artists or professionals to present their work to American audiences. Fitzgerald will present her research at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts.
The sea was a primary focus of Fitzgerald’s previous documentary, The Drowning Country, about her great-grandmother Orpheus Beaumont, who created a Kapok life jacket, selected by the British government in 1918 for use by the Royal and merchant navies.
The Drowning Country trailer
The Drowning Country muses on whether the efforts of her ancestor, a New Zealander, were worth it, given NZ has the developed world’s third highest per capita drowning rate.
The Fulbright programme has run in NZ since 1948. This year the programme supported a record 88 New Zealand and US individuals.