Director:Katherine McRae, New Zealand


Japanese freediver Sachiko Fukumoto surveys maternity care the Pacific region. As a woman who is deeply connected to the ocean environment, she is seeking a better balance between nature, tradition, and medicine for parents and their children.


When world famous freedivers, Sachiko Fukumoto and William Trubridge, were unable to have the natural water-birth they passionately wanted for their daughter in Okinawa, they travelled to New Zealand. Sachiko’s positive birth experience now drives her to explore the state of maternity care in the wider Pacific Region – in Hawai’i, the Cook Islands, Aotearoa, Tahiti, Taiwan and Japan. She will connect with other mothers, many of whom share her connection with the ocean, to learn about the birthing choices they faced and the maternity traditions of their cultures. These Pacific women link the protection of our oceans with the protection of their children and seek a future where we live in harmony with nature while also benefiting from modern medicine.

Director’s statement

This documentary is a story about hope and the possibility of change. Sachiko Fukumoto experienced a lack of choice over her maternity care in the Japanese system where most women go to the hospital to give birth and community midwives are rare. This system can be traced back to the end of World War Two when Japan adopted America’s health system resulting in an increase of the power of doctors, a loss of power for pregnant women and the disappearance of the traditional system of midwifery. Sachiko realised that this disconnect between traditional female-centred birth care and the modern medical approach isn’t confined to Japan and wonders how many women are disempowered through current birth practices. In ‘Pacific Mother’ Sachiko will connect with other women in the Pacific who are looking for change in their own countries. I share Sachiko’s belief that parents should not feel alienated during this important time in their lives.

I am bowled over by the success of ‘Water Baby’, the short documentary that I wrote and directed last year about Sachiko’s birth experience. This success tells me there is a hunger for films that reflect female experience. All over the world, women are fighting for control over their bodies. By making a film about Sachiko’s search for change and empowerment I hope to inspire people to make change in and around their own lives.

This project will also trace an impact on Sachiko as she transforms from a carefree young woman into a mother with a drive to ensure women’s rights are protected.

This documentary is also a story about the intimate connection between people and the ocean. Traditional societies lived sustainably and in harmony with nature but industrial fishing and pollution has disrupted this relationship. Many people, especially young people, worried about the future of our planet, are seeking ways to protect our oceans.

Our characters embody our themes. I am connecting the metaphor of the ocean as the giver of all life with the individual female who is creating a single life. ‘Pacific Mother’ will tie together the women’s concerns about childbirth, the environment and the world their children will inherit and is a unique approach to these issues.

Director/Producer’s Profile

Katherine McRae, trained as an actress, has directed theatre and television drama since 1997. She wrote and directed the short film ‘Abandon Ship’ (Toronto’s TIFF Kids Film Festival 2016).

Migiwa Ozawa has been producing and promoting films in New Zealand for over 15 years. As well as producing documentaries and developing feature and television projects, she is an internationally renowned commercials producer, responsible for bringing offshore clients to shoot in New Zealand.

Katherine and Migiwa created the documentary ‘Water Baby’, released through Loading 2019 short documentary which has nearly 8 million online views.

Production Plan

We have already filmed some footage in Hawai’i, Okinawa and New Zealand. Our current plan, subject to confirmation of finance and travel restrictions due to Covid-19, as below:


Production – November 2020 – September 2021

Post production – September 2021 – December 2021


Covid-19 Contingency Plan: If travel restrictions are in place we will work remotely with local crews as we have recently in Okinawa. With an overall scripted structure in place, Kathy will work with local crews sharing research and a style-bible to guide their shoots. We have established strong relationships and local film crews in each location making remote-filming possible. We want to take this opportunity to expand collaboration possibilities with local film crews.



 Production Status

We self-funded a shoot Kimi Werner in Hawai’i in December 2019 and again this year with Sachiko Fukumoto in Okinawa and Jean Te Huia and other Maori midwives in New Zealand. In March 2020, award-winning Japanese film producer, Shin Yamaguchi, joined our team a producer.

In May 2020, we were a finalist at Doc Edge Pitch 2020 where we presented our ‘Pacific Mother’ project to international judges. In July 2020, Karin Williams, one of the most experienced and respected Pacific Island producers in Oceana, joined as a consulting producer who is considering coming onboard as Executive Producer. https://www.multinesia We have submitted to one production fund (pending) and are planning to submit 2 more applications in this year.

Contact Details


Cell: +64 21 775 183