Deane Parker’s passion is inspiring others by video storytelling. TrackMe NZ and their products provide a big supporting role.
Early in his career of adventure filmmaking, Deane bought a SPOT. He wanted a device to keep him safe and track where he was in the outdoors. He reached out to TrackMe NZ as a customer, and Tony Glentworth, head man at TrackMe NZ offered to support his content. “In a way,” Deane says, “I didn’t choose TrackMe, they chose me.” Deane’s films are created with film festivals and specific audiences in mind. “I don’t see myself as a social media filmmaker per se.”
Deane’s most recent film, Kōpiko, takes you along for a ride on the stunning Kōpiko Aotearoa, a 1100-kilometer bikepacking route across New Zealand’s North Island. The audience can see the wonderful scenery, meet the locals, and share in the physical and mental challenges of the bikepacking adventure. Sponsored by TrackMe NZ, every participant carried a SPOT device which allowed them to be tracked. As well as the important safety aspect of knowing where each participant was and allowing them to call for help or advice when needed, it meant the cameraman knew where they were going to be to film them. There are wonderful shots of bike riders climbing gravel roads towards the camera or sloshing past in the rain, which wouldn’t have happened without the tracking.
“The service [from the device] is so much more than SOS and messaging,” says Deane. “I’m looking forward to getting to know some of the other functions.”
A New Zealand pioneer in bikerafting, Deane finds it possible to get into some really remote areas, places where the peace of mind of carrying his inReach Mini is integral to planning. Bikerafting wasn’t really a thing in New Zealand before Deane tried it. “A friend wanted to ride Dillon Cone in Marlborough, but the only way to get there was down the Clarence River. So, I investigated packrafting. Although we didn’t actually manage to summit Dillon that trip, two things happened. I had filmed the trip and that’s what got me into making adventure films. Plus, I really liked the idea of bikerafting. The boats are so compact you can easily carry it on your bike, get to where you’re going and inflate the raft, then tie your bike onto the front of the raft and start paddling. It seems to me that they’re made for each other.”
It was also after that trip that Deane got together with Tony Glentworth of TrackMe NZ to make the film Fluid Trails, which followed three adventurers as they made their way across Kahurangi National Park, via mountain bike and packraft. It was a loop of 500km, with three rivers to link the trails together, through rolling alpine tussock, earthquake shattered peaks and towering podocarp forests. That film was chosen for selection at the NZ Mountain Film Festival.
Deane has links to all of his films on his web page deaneparker.nz. His latest one, to be released soon brings him full circle as he and two friends return to the Clarence and Dillon Cone. This film is to be entered at the prestigious Kendal Mountain Festival in Sheffield, UK and be shown on 43 big screens around New Zealand at the Big Bike Film Night. This summer he’s planning a big adventure, “It could be the longest and hardest packrafting circuit in New Zealand. There will be two or three days tramping to get to a river for four to five days paddling.”
Keep an eye out for that movie. It’s going to be epic.