Craig Gainsborough / Loading Docs

Luckie Strike

Choose a theme

Copy (Ctrl C) the code below

There is a hidden subculture that exists underground... literally hundreds of meters underground, and it can be found all around the world. It has its own internal trade, friends, politics, and secrets. It is the world of caving, and it is not open to everyone. Mike and Dave, two caving buddies, show us a small part of this world, as they push beyond primal fear and struggle together in a dark, confined, muddy crawl space, determined to find a new entrance to the spectacular cave - Luckie Strike.

In 2016 a dye trace was done that showed the stream from a muddy little cave called Jr. flowed into the beautiful and much loved cave Luckie Strike, proving that a natural connection existed between the two. Since then many cavers have been working together to connect these caves and create a new exit and through trip for Luckie Strike.

In this 3 minute documentary, we follow Mike, Dave and their quirky sense of humour as they struggle, digging in claustrophobic conditions, in an attempt to connect these two caves systems together. They share with us the wonders of the hidden, and closely guarded subterranean world; and we join them in the anticipation of uncovering a new passage, never seen before by human eyes. It is a story of friendship, trust, laughter, and persistence in dangerous situations and in pursuit of an unusual passion.

What is it about this world that keeps them coming back and continuing in such harsh conditions for what others would consider such simple goals? Is it the caves and exploration that they love, or the camaraderie they find in such an unusual passion? How do they come up against not only real physical boundaries, but also the limits of the mind - the boundaries of primal fear -and push past it?

LUCKIE STRIKE has been selected by the Loading Docs Initiative, an incredible launch pad for NZ filmmakers. Because they wanted to see this film get made too, Loading Docs, along with principal partner NZ on Air, the New Zealand Film Commission, and TeMngai Pho, have started us out with an awesome $4,000 dollars. However, we don't get that money unless we can reach our Boosted campaign goal. When we reach our goal, the filming can finally begin!

However, if we go above and beyond the $2,000 necessary, that is where the true creativity and magic can happen. Because our film is set in such a difficult terrain, specialized equipment, gear, protection, and lighting are necessary to make this film. Every donation, every share, every word to a friend or colleague helps turn this project we are so passionate about into a reality. By becoming a part of the Luckie Strike support team you are directly making this film possible.

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about our project. Your support is hugely appreciated!


Producer Craig Gainsborough stepped away from the career path of geologist, crawling around in mines and caves, in pursuit of his passion for film over 10 years ago. In this time he has produced over dozens of music videos, hundreds of corporates and commercials, and numerous short films and documentaries.

Director Melissa Nickerson is passionate about exploring the world and telling stories through the use of various visual arts. As a professional photographer for 10 years, she has been able to travel and explore many different people, cultures, and lands. Her greatest passion is exploring unusual or hard to reach social groups and telling their story. Her current project, Luckie Strike, allows her to explore both her physical limits and brings new challenges as a photographer and director. 


  • Luckie Strike Documentary Link


    And here it is!  We hope you enjoy and fall in love with the world of caving and Mike and Dave as much as we did.  Many hours, many muddy cold feet, and memories.  Thanks for helping make it possible!

    For behind the scenes images and short clips of what it was like for us on location, check out the page below :).


    Thank you!

  • The Doco Has Arrived!


    We are so excited to announce that our short documentary is finally finished!

    After 9 months of planning, 6 days of filming, weeks of editing, and far to many hours underground in the cold and the mud, we have finally condensed our work down into 3 fun actions packed and humerous minutes.

    Thank you so much for your support in this project.  Each and every person who contributed went in to making this little film a reality.  

    Watch, and if you love it, share it for others to enjoy and to help create mo mentum behind the film!

    We shot so much incredible footage for this little doco that we are actually continuing to film and edit to create a longer more indepth film that follows the rest of the story of the connection. There is a lot of history, a lot of characters, and many more laughs and incredible underground scenery to be seen.  We cant wait to share that with you when its all done either. 

    Until then, we hope you enjoy this peice we all worked so hard on!

    With much love,

    The Luckie Strike Team

Loading Docs

Loading Docs is a unique New Zealand documentary initiative that aims to captivate and inspire audiences as well as develop and promote New Zealand filmmaking talent. Since launching in 2014 Loading Docs has touched audiences all over the world. Our films have been seen online, on TV, in film festivals... even on airplanes!

View profile

Image for Loading Docs