TV show looks at lost op­por­tu­ni­ties

Waitaki Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - FROM P1

‘‘But world eco­nom­ics and other fac­tors kicked into play and Oa­maru was very quickly left be­hind, it was like a tide had come in and briefly flooded the place with money and work and all sorts of in­vest­ments and en­thu­si­asm and just as quickly the tide went out .’’

To­day, the Vic­to­rian ar­chi­tec­ture and lime stone build­ings are like a fos­silised glimpse of Vic­to­rian New Zealand.

‘‘Seam­stresses and tai­lors are mak­ing Vic­to­rian-style clothes and you see some quite ec­cen­tric peo­ple out strolling around with their crino­line dresses and their tweed suits and the top hats and para­sols, and they’re out won­der­ing about, it’s like a film set.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing. This is my fourth trip to New Zealand and I had never heard of peo­ple even men­tion Oa­maru be­fore. It’s off the beaten track even for Ki­wis, most of the crew I was work­ing with had never been there.

‘‘To say its worth a visit is an un­der­state­ment.’’

The South Is­land town cap­tured Oliver’s heart while film­ing for the third se­ries ex­plor­ing the coast­lines of New Zealand. This time, he ex­plored ar­eas around Welling­ton, North Otago, Kaipara, Chatham Is­land, the West Coast and Bay Of Plenty.

He and six New Zealand ex­perts in marine bi­ol­ogy, his­tory and so­cial his­tory un­cover and ex­plore sto­ries about ‘‘any­thing and ev­ery­thing that hap­pens on the coast’’.

‘‘It can be how peo­ple lived there, how peo­ple make a liv­ing there, it can be about in­dus­try, it can be about the his­tory of the place, why a given town or a bay was set­tled 100 or 500 years ago,’’ Oliver ex­plained.

‘‘We con­sider the Ma¯ ori story as well as the Euro­pean story. We look at wa­ter, nat­u­ral his­tory, we look at the crea­tures and the plants - any­thing - it’s just about what it is that makes the coast a unique and dy­namic fas­ci­nat­ing en­vi­ron­ment.’’

It was a nec­es­sary task to look back on what has hap­pened in or­der to move for­ward and sur­vive with change, par­tic­u­larly with cli­mate change, he ex­plained.

‘‘For ex­am­ple, some of the first peo­ple set­tled in a part of the coast be­cause it was ideal for them when they ar­rived - maybe the wa­ter was deep enough or shal­low enough or the right kind of fish were there.

‘‘Then, be­cause of the en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors that come into play, some­times har­bours be­come silted up so that ships can’t come in any­more, a species can move away to an­other part or it can be­come ex­tinct, cli­mate change is hap­pen­ing now - but it has hap­pened in the past.

‘‘When we look back and we see the way that peo­ple have al­ways had to be adapt­able, and imag­i­na­tive when it comes to deal­ing with change, then that can help us to in­form our fu­ture be­cause we know al­ready that the en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate are chang­ing and we can be ready for it.’’ And not just in this era. Part of sea­son three dives into the an­nual and in­cred­i­ble mi­gra­tion of the God­wit species and how they might have in­spired the dis­cov­ery of NZ by the early ex­plorer and founder of NZ, Kupe, and his fel­low ex­plor­ers.

Ev­ery year, about 80,000 God­wit make the long jour­ney be­tween New Zealand, China and the Arc­tic cir­cle.

Oliver ex­plained the small birds go up to Alaska to have their chicks and will stay there un­til the chicks are self suf­fi­cient.

The adult birds eat to dou­ble their size and then fly a non stop jour­ney all the way back to New Zealand - about 12,875km.

‘‘They don’t sit on the wa­ter, they don’t take a break, they just fly for that en­tire jour­ney. It’s the long­est non stop flight taken by any bird on planet Earth,’’ Oliver said.

‘‘Five or six days and nights of non stop fly­ing, and they don’t sleep, they just flap - flap, flap, flap.’’

It was sup­pos­edly that jour­ney that caught the at­ten­tion of Kupe, in his home­land of Hawaiki, as he watched the small birds cross south over the is­land at the same time ev­ery year.

‘‘Hu­man cu­rios­ity, be­ing what it is, they fol­lowed the God­wits. They fig­ured, they must be go­ing some­where,’’ Oliver said.

‘‘That was part of what in­spired the great poly­ne­sian mi­gra­tions be­cause they were fol­low­ing the birds on the ex­pec­ta­tion that they must land some­where.’’

airs on TVNZ 1 on Sun­day April 22 at 8pm, and On­De­mand.

Bri­tish TV pre­sen­ter Neil Oliver hosts Coast New Zealand.

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