Neil Harraway was with natural history company NHNZ when it first began, as TVNZ's Natural History Unit. The news reporter turned producer would later work extensively in colder climes - producing pioneering 1989 doco Under the Ice, writing penguin tale Emperors of the Antarctic and directing episodes of doco series Journeys across Latitude 45 South. Harraway now heads development and marketing for NHNZ.
...Neil Harraway visited the BBC Natural History Unit and said ‘hey, we could do that here’. Soon Dunedin was turning out full-blown documentaries under the aegis of a natural history unit of its own. Article in Massey University news
This is the opening episode of the Prime TV series celebrating 50 years of New Zealand television: from an opening night puppet show in Auckland in 1960, through to Outrageous Fortune five decades later. It traverses the medium's development and its major turning points (including the rise of programme-making and news, networking, colour and the arrival of TV3, Prime, NZ on Air, Sky and Māori Television) and interviews key players. The changing nature of the NZ living room — always with the telly in pride of place as modern hearth — is a story within a story.
In this five-part series celebrating New Zealand's National Parks, presenter Peter Hayden travels through some of the country's most awe-inspiring environments. This episode - looking at the unique spiritual relationship between the Tuhoe people and the birds and bush in Te Urewera National Park - was directed by Barry Barclay. Barclay enacted his "fourth cinema" philosophy of indigenous filmmaking: "We elected to tell the contemporary story of the park through their [Tuhoe] eyes". It attracted controversy for its then-exceptional use of te reo.
In this episode of the Journeys series, presenter Peter Hayden looks at the primeval, remote wilderness of Fiordland National Park. We learn of how the god Tu-te-raki-whanoa crafted the fiords out of sheer cliffs with his adze "so the sea might run in and there'd be quiet places for people to live". On hardy boats and along the Milford Track, Hayden traces the "memory trails" of the few who have braved here: Māori pounamu collectors, sealers, cray fishermen, early naturalists Georg and Johann Forster, and pioneering conservationist Richard Henry.
In this episode of the Journeys series Peter Hayden travels west to east across two national parks and some of New Zealand's most sublime landscapes, from giant, ancient kahikatea forest to hotpools and creaking glaciers. Ecologist Geoff Park's (Nga Uruora) reflections on the coast-to-mountains forest, and the exploits of early surveyor Charlie 'Explorer' Douglas are woven through Hayden's journey, ending with Hayden's personal highlight of the series: climbing Hochstetter Dome with the legendary mountaineer (and Hillary mentor) Harry Ayres.
This third episode in presenter Peter Hayden’s journey across latitude 45 depicts the “new gold” of the booming tourist trade. On the Clutha River, archaeologists race ahead of the construction of a dam, digging for a soon-to-be-submerged mining past. The road to Skippers Canyon induces vertigo. Hayden rafts through the Oxenbridge brothers’ tunnelling feat, a failed project aimed at diverting the Shotover River in the hope of finding gold on the exposed bed. Alan Brady is filmed in his newly-established winery, the first in a region now famed for its wine.
This film tells the story of Antarctica’s emperor penguin (the real world inspiration behind Happy Feet) and how they survive vicious blizzards and -50°C. It also retraces the epic “worst journey in the world” that explorer Edward Wilson made to discover these remarkable birds. Max Quinn won a best director award at the 1994 NZ Television Awards for the Antarctic Trilogy that Emperors was part of (as was Quinn's The Longest Night). The trilogy helped establish NHNZ’s relationship with Discovery Channel, and the penguin-falling-through-ice scene (clip one) became a YouTube hit.
In this five part series presenter Peter Hayden travels through some of New Zealand’s most awe inspiring landscapes. The series was made to coincide with the centennial of the establishment of NZ’s first national park (and the fourth worldwide), Tongariro. Hayden traverses the famous crossing with priest Max Mariu, volcanologist Jim Cole, park ranger Russell Montgomery, and the young Tumu Te Heu Heu. It was the first time Tumu, now paramount chief of Ngāti Tuwharetoa, had been up the maunga; the power of his experience is clear and moving.
Peter Hayden travels through some of New Zealand's most awe-inspiring environments in this five part series made to celebrate the centenary of our first national park. This episode of Journeys looks at the national park closest to our largest city and contemplates that relationship, featuring stories of life on the gulf's islands. A highlight is the transfer of the rare tieke (saddleback - a lively wattlebird), from Cuvier Island to ecological time-capsule Little Barrier Island "with Auckland's lights twinkling in the background".
The first leg of Peter Hayden’s journey across latitude 45 south takes him across the Waitaki Plains and up to Danseys Pass. He visits the site of a moa butchery and the sunken circular umuti (cabbage tree ovens) of early Māori. Guided by colonial literature, he visits New Zealand’s tallest tree (a eucalypt, which he finds horizontal). Drought busting desperation of 1889 and the provenance of Corriedale sheep is also covered. In a riparian side trip, Hayden heads up the Maerewhenua River where gold miners succeeded only in ravaging the landscape.
Central Otago’s broad, dry landscape is dominated by an extreme climate; it is scarred by wind, ice and industry. Deep mining shafts and long rusted sluicing guns pepper this second stage of Peter Hayden’s traverse across latitude 45 south. He visits the quartz covered Mt Buster, NZ’s highest diggings, where unseasonal blizzards often claimed miners’ lives. The layout of Naseby’s graveyard yields information on the hierarchy of the goldfields. The flora – mountain totara, carnivorous sundews and a heather variety that grows horizontally – is fascinating.
The unknown has long captured the imagination of explorers and visitors to Antarctica. 100 years after first setting foot on its icy shores, scientists are only beginning to discover its secrets. This award-winning film was the first nature documentary to be filmed under the Antarctic sea ice. Innovative photography reveals the other-worldly beauty of the submarine world, and the surprisingly rich life found in sub-zero temperatures - weddell seals, giant sponge and dragonfish. Under the Ice was an early offshore success for Natural History New Zealand.
This final installment of Hayden’s traverse across latitude 45 finds him in the ice-sculpted isolation of Fiordland. In this episode he travels through diverse flora (lush and verdant thanks to astonishingly high rainfall); and with botanist Dr Brian Molloy follows the footsteps of early bird conservationist Richard Henry. Mohua (yellowhead), takahe, weka and tiny rock wrens feature in the fauna camp. Reaching the sea, the underworld depths of George Sound house a world teeming with abundant life.