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Partners Life back big-screen documentary

A new Kiwi-made documentary film has hit the big screens around the country but it may not have made it without help from health and life insurers Partners Life.

Monday, April 12th 2021, 2:04PM

by Matthew Martin

Feature-length documentary The Pinkies Are Back is about a group of breast cancer survivors who form a competitive dragon boating team, the Pink Dragons, and their attempt to win gold at the Auckland regionals despite some having never held a paddle before.

The sponsorship deal came about when Partners Life client and member of the Pink Dragons, Yvonne Godfrey, learned of the project and its financial obstacles from director and producer Lisa Burd.

Godfrey, who appears in the doco, had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time and suggested Partners Life help sponsor the making of the film.

“I saw bringing Partners Life and Lisa Burd together as the perfect fit because my experience with Partners Life has always been exemplary," Godfrey says.

"There is an excellence to the business, it’s about real people with real needs, and I felt that they were synchronistic with the needs of the women in the documentary."

Partners Life founder and managing director Naomi Ballantyne (pictured below) had previously worked with Godfrey after Ballantyne had funded a women’s conference a few years earlier.

Ballantyne says her company was pleased to sponsor an important story told with grace, compassion and humour.

“A cancer diagnosis can be devastating, but for the members of the Pink Dragons, dragon boating has turned out to be the silver lining and has made them even stronger than before.

"We’re excited and proud to have worked with Lisa Burd to help tell the story of these determined and brave ladies. We know audiences across New Zealand will love this film as much as we do,” Ballantyne says.

Burd, who has made three previous award-winning documentaries, stumbled upon the Pink Dragons' story when she started dragon boating and her wellbeing went “through the roof”.

“We were amazed at the funding support we got, and Yvonne [Godfrey], a newbie in the Pink Dragons, was a godsend," says Burd.

"She connected us with Partners Life, who became our sponsor, which I have never had before, and they have been absolutely out of this world.

"They believe in the cause and the story, and about getting life right.”

The Pinkies are Back (rated PG, 95 minutes) is now screening in cinemas around New Zealand.

Tags: Naomi Ballantyne Partners Life

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