Seasick title
Seasick title

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park was the first marine park established in New Zealand. It reaches from Te Arai to Waihi in the North Island, an area of more than 1.2 million hectares which includes more than 50 islands. It is a unique, bio-diverse and a much-loved body of water, but it is in a state of ecological collapse.

Seasick - Saving the Hauraki Gulf is a seven-part series initiated by the release of many bleak reports on the state of the gulf. The alarming decrease in crayfish, paua, scallops, fish stocks – most sealife. How has it come to this? Who are the culprits and what can be done?

Clear, deep water in an island bay with bush

Otata Island, The Noises in the Hauraki Gulf. Photo: Republic Films.

Otata Island, The Noises in the Hauraki Gulf. Photo: Republic Films.

Over 18 months we have interviewed more than 70 people – all with strong, well-informed points of view.

We investigate the history of fishing, commercial and recreational, fisheries management in general, the Quota Management System and look at marine reserves. Most agree with more marine protection but there is conflict over what that should look like.

It seems apparent that not enough has been done fast enough. Time is running out to save the Hauraki Gulf. There are stories of hope – we just hope they will be in time.

Fish and seaweed underwater

Underwater in the Hauraki Gulf; Photo: Mike Bhana.

Underwater in the Hauraki Gulf; Photo: Mike Bhana.


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Episode one: The Treasure

We look at what a treasure the Hauraki Gulf is, how unique and bio-diverse it is and how abundant it once was. On the doorstep of our largest city, it is a playground for many. But it is in trouble – in fact in trophic collapse. With so many grim reports, why has so little actually been done?

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Episode two: Commercial Fishing

Commercial fishing is often singled out as the main culprit in over-exploitation, but there is a need for healthy protein for New Zealanders. We investigate how commercial catch is monitored, fishing methods that are less damaging to the seafloor and the Quota Management System, which is almost 40 years old, and whether it is still fit for purpose.

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Episode three: Recreational Fishing

New Zealand has a consistently high rate of boat ownership per capita and with the Hauraki Gulf on the doorstep of our biggest city, recreational fishing is a popular past time.

We investigate how the recreational fishing catch is measured by science, whether the fishing limits are too generous and how recreational fishers can fish better. We look into marine reserves, the many forms they can take and the various opinions on them.

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Episode Four: Pollution

Since the removal of forests 150 years ago and ongoing intensive land use, sediment has been going into the Gulf. We look at how councils manage land development and some great new initiatives to help remove sediment with tree planting. We explore Auckland’s 100-year-old sewerage system and why it’s not possible to swim at beaches after heavy rain. We check in on the Central Interceptor upgrade and investigate great new plans for mussel restoration in Okahu Bay.

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Episode Five: Te Ao Māori, the Māori world view

We look at Te Ao Māori, the Māori world view of the interconnectedness and interrelationship of all living and non-living things. We explore how a mātauranga lens could be applied to marine protection going forward and how traditional and dynamic practices like rāhui are able to move more quickly than government policy to protect certain species.

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Episode Six: Better uses of the treasure

We look at what other, less destructive uses there could be for the gulf, like tourism and aquaculture. We investigate seafood provenance – why we know and care where our beef, lamb and eggs come from but not our fish. We discuss the sustainable concept of using the whole fish, not just the fillets, and showcase the brilliant Kai Ika project for the good of the community.

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Episode Seven: The future of the Hauraki Gulf

Is the environmental mess we find ourselves in due to our drift from nature? We look at our relationship to nature and whether greed is partly responsible for the gulf’s deterioration. And what is being done to save the Hauraki Gulf?

We look at stories of hope, who should be driving the future of environmentalism, what could be achieved and what you can do to play a part in saving this ecological treasure.

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Director / Writer / Exec Producer Simon Mark-Brown
Producer Angela Hovey
Development Partner Rod Inglis
Director of Photography Bertrand Remaut
B Camera / Drone Jasper Johnstone
Additional Camera Simon Mark-Brown, Mike Bhana, Miami ‘Max’ Duhamel
Production Coordinator Louise Mark-Brown
Camera / Production Assists Geraldine Creff, Zoe-Rose Herbert
Underwater Footage Mike Bhana, Aart Van Dijk, Craig Thornburn, Shaun Lee, Ferg Milner
Additional Footage Geoff Reid, Tom Hishon, Darryl Ward, Siana Fitzjohn, Archives New Zealand
Editor / Colour Grade Bertrand Remaut
Design & Animation Timothy Armstrong
Logo Design Marcus Ringrose
Visual Effects Kaleidoscope
Composers Marshall Smith and Tom Fox @ The Sound Room
Sound Post Mike Bloemendal @ The Sound Room
Initial Production Cam Spath
Commissioning editor Janine Fenwick
Web layout and development John Harford
Made with funding from NZ On Air
NZ on Air logo and GIFT logo
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