Saving NZ's wildlife is a short film for the BBC Travel Show, filmed, directed & produced by Sharron Ward for Katalyst Productions in February 2021.
Aotearoa/New Zealand has a number of native species that is currently under threat - from forest birds like the Kea, the iconic Kiwi, the Kākāpō & Takahē. Dunedin is hailed as the Wildlife capital of NZ because it’s here that you can see so much wildlife from sealions, humpbackwhales, furseals & endangered Hector dolphins.
But it's the Yellow Eyed Penguin – (known in Māori as the “Hoi ho”), one of the world’s rarest penguins, that is especially endangered here.
The Otago Peninsula, in Dunedin on New Zealand's South Island, is one of the only places in the world where they are found.
This short segment focusses on the efforts of the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital & the conservation work of Penguin Place - not to mention the incredible work of the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust to help save these amazing creatures. The film also focusses on the kaitiaki (guardianship) work of Blue Penguins Pukekura and scientist Dr Hiltrun Ratz in caring and protecting the little Blue Penguins (korora) which are the world's smallest penguin at another penguin colony on the Otago Peninsula. It is here that you can see amazing numbers of korora swimming in "rafts" coming ashore to feed their chicks and nest up for the night. It's an amazing sight. At the end of the film, we see Jason from Penguin Place doing a "soft release" where he releases 3 Hoi Ho back onto the private beach nature research at Penguin Place. Penguin Place is believed to be the world's first wholly tourist funded conservation project.
"The crew were extremely respectful of our work and the need to put the welfare of the birds first. They shot some incredibe footage which in turn helped the public understand the plight of the Hoiho and how we, at Penguin Place, aim to protect them."
"To get exposure of this kind on the BBC Travel website with an article about our work has been enormously beneficial. Sharron was really good in working within our strict parameters and respected all our requirements regarding filming in the hospital around our very rare and precious patients."
"Sharron captured beautiful footage of these small but precious birds in their natural habitat and of the kaitiaki work conducted by the Pukekura Trust and the Korako Karetai whānau.Thank you so much for your time here, we can't wait to see where you head to next!"
Some raw unedited iPhone footage of cheeky little Korora chicks play-fighting & Korora coming ashore at Blue Penguins Pukekura.