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Protecting our precious places

Students win music and film competition

21 January 2015

Media release

Soho Station - photo by Stephen Jacquiery-ODTCompetition winners promote high country covenants with film and music 

Victoria University students Ruby Judson and Steffan Paton are the winners of the Soho Film and Music Competition run in collaboration between Queen Elizabeth II National Trust and Victoria University of Wellington.

The competition was organised to promote the work of the National Trust and the Soho Property Ltd covenants agreement, New Zealand’s largest ever private land protection agreement protecting 53,000ha of high country landscape near Arrowtown. 

The competition also aimed to promote Victoria University’s film and music programmes and the talent of its students. In 2014, Ruby Judson completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in film and international business and Steffan Paton gained a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours in composition at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music (NZSM).  

Contestants were asked to create a short promotional video of the Soho covenants accompanied by an original score, using film footage supplied by the Trust.

The judges said the winning entry was a strong collaboration between the composer and film editor and was a fitting celebration of the covenants.

“We all agreed that the structure and pacing of the editing and composition of Ruby and Steffan’s collaboration worked especially well together. 

“Their balanced presentation of information, emotive images and compelling music gave the video momentum and cohesion, resulting in an engaging and inspiring piece,” they said.

The judging panel comprised Professor John Psathas, Dr Paul Wolffram and David Long representing Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music (NZSM), based at Victoria, and the University’s schools of English, film, theatre and media studies, and Paul Kirby, Anne McLean and Jane Hunter representing Queen Elizabeth II National Trust.

Professor Psathas and Dr Wolffram said that all the entries offered a unique response to the footage. 

“It was clear that the imagery and the ethos underlying the Trust and the Soho covenants inspired all the students who entered the competition to make a positive, affirmative statement with their collaborations. 

“It was fascinating to see and hear such a variety of responses to the challenge, and we are very proud of the imagination, effort, and creativity demonstrated by Victoria University’s film and music students. This is a terrific opportunity for our students and one we hope to see repeated,” they said.

National Trust spokesperson, Anne McLean, acknowledged the hard work put in by all contributing students and said the Trust was delighted with the results of the competition. 

“We are honoured to have worked with Professor Psathas and Dr Wolffram on this project. Their involvement guaranteed the success of the competition and gave it high credibility.

“We congratulate Ruby and Steffan and look forward to using their engaging work to promote our organisation, the Soho covenants, and Victoria University’s film and music programmes,” she said.

The winners receive a cash prize and return flights and accommodation in Arrowtown to attend the official opening of the Soho covenants in March 2015. Their video will be shown as part of the opening celebrations.


More information

Media liaison: 

Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, Anne McLean, Phone: 04 474 1689, —

Victoria University, Katherine Edmond, Communications Manager, Phone: 04 463 6017

Mobile: 027 563 6017, —

Soho covenants and QEII National Trust

The QEII National Trust partners with private landowners to help them protect special natural and cultural heritage places on their land with National Trust covenants.

Queen Elizabeth II National Trust and Soho Property Ltd announced the Soho covenants proposal in August 2014. This is the largest private land protection agreement ever initiated in New Zealand.  The proposal involves the establishment of four National Trust covenants that will permanently protect 53,000 hectares of contiguous landscape over most of Motatapu, Mount Soho, Glencoe and Coronet Peak stations. The stations cover a large part of the country between Lake Wanaka and Arrowtown and are bordered by the Shotover River and the Cardrona Valley.

The area protected by these covenants is equal in size to the combined areas of Paparoa and Abel Tasman national parks. 

The covenants protect iconic high country landscapes, the habitat of unique native plants and animals, and important historic, cultural, public access, and recreation values. With protection now in place, these values can be enjoyed forever.

The Soho covenants are scheduled to be formally opened in March 2015.

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