A Flock of Students


(“As New Zealand’s summer draws its last golden breath, something remarkable is about to happen – one of nature’s strange miracles. A migration that goes in an odd direction… South for winter.” – from A Flock of Students)

Each year, 25,000 university students descend on the sedate southern city of Dunedin, transforming an otherwise slightly-sleepy hollow into a crowded, raucous nesting site unlike any other in the country.  And if the phrase “nesting site” seems an unusual term to apply, it won’t seem so after viewing A Flock of Students, the quirky documentary study of student life.


Filmed over the 2003 Otago University year, the Greenstone Pictures documentary is the brainchild of writer/producer Colin Hogg, who decided to take a bird’s eye view of student life, making the programme in the style of a wildlife documentary and viewing student life in terms of nesting, feeding, mating and display.  Utilising the talents of gifted director Rebecca Mellor and a topline wildlife film crew based in Dunedin – cameraman Swami Hansa and sound recordist John Patrick – A Flock of Students watches in strictly-observational wonder as these wild young birds take part in New Zealand’s strangest annual migration.


The documentary divides its curiosity between first-year students, or “freshers”, safe in their supervised accommodation, and the more mature students, who prefer the wild life, out alone, in rented houses and flats, centered round the city’s infamous main street of student life, Castle Street.  Life for the learner birds seems, at first, to be one long party, as they congregate at the popular student watering holes, but eventually they settle down to study and to concentrate on the challenges of surviving a long, hard winter away from home – and on passing their exams, of course.


Featuring a soundtrack of original music by Dunedin-based Kiwi rock legend David (The Clean) Kilgour and some of the most uninhibited scenes ever featured in a wildlife documentary, A Flock of Students is no ordinary documentary – an intimate look at wildlife that talks our language.



Promotional Trailer

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Production Details

Producer: Colin Hogg

Consulting producer: Stephen Campbell

Conceived & written by: Colin Hogg

Exec producer: Tony Manson

Network exec: John Wright

Director: Rebecca Mellor

Researcher: Barbara Rogers

Script writers: Rebecca Mellor, Colin Hogg

Editor: Margaret Kelly

Online editor: Daniel Habedank

Production manager: Lornelle Henry

Production assistant: Nellie Butler

Camera: Swami Hansa

Sound: John Patrick, Ian Masterton

Sound mix: Graham Wallace

Titles/graphics: Ralph Wilkin

Music: David Kilgour (from his CD “A Feather in the Engine”)

Production accountant: Jeanette Wiles-Crombie

Funded by: TVNZ