5 QUESTIONS WITH…JANINA KUZMA

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A series of films on fearless women opening in Wanaka this Sunday will be a celebration of International Women’s Day.

The Women’s Adventure Film Tour tells the story of female athletes, mountain climbers and explorers.

The News caught up with one of the inspiring women, Janina Kuzma, of Wanaka, who was part of the film A Winter Affair: East West, directed by Jase Hancox.

Q: Can you tell me about the film and your journey crossing New Zealand’s Southern Alps? What were some of the biggest challenges that came up that you were not expecting?
There were definitely a few times where we were tested as a group but always managed to help each other out and push through.
We had a storm chasing us, too, and we ended up having to change plans and head to Kelman Hut and didn’t manage to get in until 11pm.
Once there, we were stuck in the hut for two days.
Walking out on Fox Glacier was a first for me.
There were definitely moments where I was like ‘What the hell are we doing here?’
But all in all it was an epic trip and I wouldn’t change anything.
Q: Can you describe what happened when one of the team fell ill? How did that come about and how did it affect the journey?
Yes. Unfortunately, Ayako Kurod, of Japan, wasn’t well on the trip.
She couldn’t hold down food or water and her sugar levels were very low.
Despite this she almost made it to the end.
Unfortunately, she got airlifted out of Fox Glacier on the last day, hours away from the finish.
Q: As an adventurous woman what would you like to say to encourage other young women to get out the door and into the unknown?
Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
It just takes hard work, educate yourself so you can be sure whatever adventure you’re planning to do it safely and make good decisions.
And also don’t be intimidated. Everyone was a beginner at some point.
Q: How much understanding do you think people living in cities actually have of the impact environmental change is having in the remote areas of new Zealand? Can you describe the most compelling changes you have seen during your travels?
The last trip east/west was a real eye-opener as to the decline of the glaciers.
These glaciers have been around for hundreds of thousands of years and they are literally disappearing before our eyes.
I think it’s so sad and it’s crazy how people can be in denial about global warming.
Q: What do the next few months hold for you? Can you describe what you will be up to? What is your next adventure?
At the moment I’m in British Columbia, in Canada, doing some trips.
I have two big projects for the year. One is skiing in West Papua if tensions in the country calm down and we get our permits, and then skiing some couloirs in the remote backcountry in Tasmania. I’m pretty excited about it.

★ The Women’s Adventure Film Tour screens at Cinema Paradiso, 72 Brownston St, Wanaka, on Sunday, March 8, at 6pm and Monday, March 9, at 8.30pm.