Amidst the dust & shadows of a Central Otago woolshed, a grumpy old man is obliged to listen to a humorous tale from a meddlesome stranger.

Filmed in 2023 in the Arrowtown area of Aotearoa New Zealand, PULLING UP STUMPS is:

  • An Otago short film that will preserve a slice of rural life before it disappears forever.
  • A South Island story that celebrates older blokes and the sanctity of a man’s shed.
  • A classic of Kiwi cinema that features Ian Mune in a role that befits his status as a legend!


Old Stories Never Die

On a dusty day in Central Otago, a man in his 80s enters his workshop. His mission? To fix a broken kitchen appliance.

His task is interrupted by the arrival of a chatty stranger and an irksome rooster.

After several attempts to get rid of distractions, the old man is forced to listen to the tales of his visitor, including the saga of an obstinate stump.

Gradually, it becomes clear that the stranger may not be so strange. And the story may have more meaning than first meets the ear.


A Tale Never Loses in the Telling

PULLING UP STUMPS is a memory piece.

The setting of an Otago woolshed is inspired by my father’s workshop in Arrowtown. The tale of the stump is based on a true event that happened to my grandfather. And the film itself is an echo of times gone by.

In 2021, I moved back to Otago after a long stint in the States. It was a wonderful choice, but it was bittersweet to see how much the Lakes District and Central areas had changed.

Sheep stations had vanished. Adventure tourism, golf courses, and sprawling housing developments were now the order of the day.

You can’t stop progress, but you can honour the past. So I decided to write a story about people I knew. Through my parents, I have been privileged to meet men & women who remember Central as it was—a place of hard farming, stalwart neighbours, and dry as dust humour.

PULLING UP STUMPS is a tribute to these Southerners. Through this short film, I hope to preserve a family story and the character of a world that’s fading fast.

Elinor Teele (Writer/Director)

June-October 2023

We Are Applying to Film Festivals!