Keith Hawke, who has made films all over the world, is using his latest project to highlight employment among seniors. Photo: Matt McCrorie.

Local filmmaker turns his lens to retirees


Keith Hawke will be the first to tell you that he’s not retired.

He has had a long, storied career in filmmaking and is currently working hard on his next project, a documentary called ‘Retired: Now what?’

The project is a series of conversations with retired people in the region who want to use their skills beyond retirement.

While Keith has been in the area for nearly 15 years, his career has taken him all over the world, spending 12 years making corporate videos and documentaries in Hong Kong and Singapore, where he ran his own filmmaking company.

‘Those left behind’ was his last project, a series of conversations with people in rural areas whose lives have been affected by depression and suicide.

After working on a few projects for Nelson Marlborough Health, Keith got talking to people who are retired, semiretired, or want to retire.

“A lot of what I was hearing was that a lot of retired people want to do something with the skills they’ve developed, often over long careers.”

Keith says examples in the area are abundant. Skilled accountants, people with truck licences who all just want to do a few hours a week.

Often, Keith says, it’s not about the money.

“A lot of these people have been working for years. It’s not about the money, but they want to give something back to the community, they still have really valuable skills.”

Keith says that when people retire, they can often find themselves cut off from the community.

“Suddenly you lose that community of friends and colleagues that you meet through work.”

There seems to be a gap between employers who could use these people and job seekers, Keith says.

One example, Keith says, is a recently retired farmer.

“This guy sold his farm to retire, but now he’s sitting around scratching his head. He built his own business from the ground up, starting from scratch, and he’s got a range of skills that could be useful to a range of employers.”

Keith hopes the project will be a way to bridge the gap between retired or semi-retired locals who have a lot to give, and employers who may not have considered hiring someone towards the end of their career.

If you have a similar experience that you want to share with Keith, contact him on [email protected]