An inspirational comedy about the Pink Dragons, a team of dragon-boating breast cancer survivors, is set to be released this month - featuring Wānaka locals across the board.
‘The Pinkies are Back’ was produced by filmmaker and storyteller, ex-local Lisa Burd, with music supervised by Lake Wānaka Sounz’s Lynne Christie. It follows the 2019-20 season of the ‘Pinkies’ as they attempt to rebuild their dragon boat team - a sweep, a caller and 20 paddlers, sitting side-by-side in a 12-metre long boat.
Burd said she followed the dragon boat community for a number of years, and the stars aligned when she met the Pink Dragons.
They were down to just seven members and worried they would fold when it was decided they would rise up again - recruiting and training seventeen new members, many of whom had never seen a paddle before.
Amongst their recruits was Wānaka local Yvonne Godfrey, who said she was fascinated by the “grit and gutsy attitude to life” of the Pink Dragons.
“These are ladies who have had breast cancer, who now want to use dragon boat racing as a fabulous method of recovery. Both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, it helps women get in a better space,” said Godfrey.
Godfrey recalled that, during four months of intensive training, the team didn’t want their coach, Sooupu Perese, to treat them any differently to his other teams.
“He put us through the paces like you wouldn’t believe, there was no mercy,” she said.
The movie premiere in Auckland has been postponed to March 15 due to the latest Covid-19 alert level change.
There will be a fundraising screening in Wānaka on March 23 to raise money for the team to attend the International Breast Cancer Dragon Boating Championships in 2022 - hosted by New Zealand at Lake Karapiro - followed by a Q and A with three members of the team and the producer.
“The movie is about the unbreakable bond that we had as 22 women absolutely committed to bringing our best to the boat,” said Godfrey.
“People are going to come out feeling great - that anything is possible, wherever you are in life,” added Burd.
Read edition 1016 of the Wānaka Sun here.