Underwater series tells NZs maritime stories

By ODT | Posted: Sunday February 14, 2021

A joint project for Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, Heritage New Zealand, and Fiordland-based tourism operator Fiordland Expeditions explores the history of Dusky Sound.

The series of seven short stories, entitled Furthest Frontier: Stories from Tamatea/Dusky Sound, focuses on little-known but historically significant stories from the region.

Among them are tales of the first meeting of southern iwi with Captain James Cook, the marooning of more than 240 people from the 1795 Endeavour wreck, the conservation efforts of Richard Henry, and the sinking of Dunedin liner Waikare.

Toitu OSM curator Sean Brosnahan said Dusky Sound was an extraordinary place, rich in early history, which had now become remote and isolated.

"But back in the day, it was the place to go in southern New Zealand."

The docuseries is being released in serial form through the Toitu OSM YouTube and Facebook pages, and will contribute to later displays at the museum.

Mr Brosnahan, who presents the series, said the filming project was a collaborative effort, with maritime archaeologists Dr Matt Carter and Kurt Bennett also featuring.

"It was tremendous having them along for the filming, and they were very excited to be involved - Matt came from overseas and had to go through quarantine twice to do it," Mr Brosnahan said.

"Their knowledge was excellent, and having their underwater filming skills really added to the quality of the footage we were able to capture."

Specialist knowledge was also contributed by James York, of Oraka Aparima runanga, and Sarah Gallagher, of Heritage New Zealand.

Fiordland Expeditions operator Richard Abernethy offered substantial support, accommodating the expedition on his boat, Tutoko II, while in Fiordland.

"Fiordland Expeditions were big supporters of the project, and will be playing episodes of the documentary to their customers in the future," Mr Brosnahan said.

Working on the docuseries had been a great experience, and Mr Brosnahan was hoping longer-term to produce more such series showing New Zealand places that are "interesting, but hard to get to".

"We have artefacts here in the museum that have a fascinating history, so it’s a case of bringing them to life for modern audiences, who are in tune with moving images."


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