Christchurch Dilemmas

Stories and conversations about the future of Christchurch

Christchurch Dilemmas is a fantastic example of interactive documentary. The site blends documentary story with interviews and perspectives, and invites rich engagement from users on topics that they care passionately about; six key aspects of the rebuilding and future of Christchurch. 28 stories make up the six-part series.

Christchurch Dilemmas is funded through our Digital Media Fund and is supported by Radio NZ, who have provided a platform for distribution and also a researcher for the project. 

NZ On Air Funding: $175,000

Director & Producer: Gerard Smyth, Frank Film
Editor: Gaylene Barnes
Website/Interactive: Make Collective/Sons & Co
Researcher: Tess McClure

See Christchurch Dilemmas online and on Radio NZ.


Finding a voice

This interactive documentary encourages and empowers both residents of Christchurch and those interested in the city's fortunes to engage with the shifting landscape. Made by and for Christchurch locals, the aim is to energise residents to participate in their own recovery.

Five years on from the earthquakes, Christchurch is building not just a new city, but a new social fabric. Communities are reforming physically, economically and emotionally. The problems faced by the city are manifold: insurance woes, mental health decline, and stretched rebuild budgets. But innovation too comes in many forms - from re-inhabiting Red Zone land to new types of housing, mental health recovery to urban planning.

The invitation provided by this documentary is for residents to engage in the discussion about what will happen, in a way they have not been invited to until now. The videos explore each of six issues that directly impact the city and its residents, they provide clear and informed perspectives on the options available. People can then share their thoughts through the site.


Engaging an audience

The documentary launched on August 8 2016 and a new episode was released each week. This provided time for each story to be aired, discussed and promoted. It allowed for a gentle introduction into the concept of a chaptered documentary and built interest and engagement from the audience.

The project team also engaged the audience through Facebook, using multiple avenues for promotion to draw in interested viewers.

Visit the Christchurch Dilemmas site.

Episode One: The Red Zone


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