Navigation for Turning the Tide

Series ClassificationG (General Audiences) | The series was made by Tauihu Media and funded by the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge


Our marine environment is facing enormous pressure from human activities such as excess sediment, nutrients, and plastic pollution, along with impacts at sea from commercial and recreational fishing, aquaculture, extraction of natural resources, introduction of non-indigenous species, and coastal development. These cumulative stressors are being made worse by a changing climate, leading to increased ocean acidification, sea-level rise, and sea-surface temperatures.


Throughout the Turning the Tide six-part short documentary series, we highlight the work of researchers, kaitiaki, and community members as they pool their knowledge and resources to improve the health of the seas around Aotearoa New Zealand.

We start out looking at the current state of our seas and the various issues that are impacting the health of our coastal marine environments with Professors Nick Shears and Conrad Pilditch of the University of Auckland, including the problem with kina barrens, where an overabundance of kina are devouring the seaweed so necessary to a healthy coastal marine system.

Next we head to Ōhiwa Harbour. There, Kura Paul-Burke of the University of Waikato is working with doctoral and undergraduate students to research and restore mussel beds in a Mātauranga-led approach.

In Queen Charlotte Sounds, we hear about kina removal from kina barrens in a trial headed by Dr. Nick Shears, while Dr. Nigel Bradly of Envirostrat works to improve the taste profiles of NZ kina removed from kina barrens, to match the palettes in discerning Asian markets.

We then learn about the importance of collaboration between Māori, government agencies, and other enterprises to the success of protection and restoration of our coastal marine waters.

At Marlborough Girl’s College, we see how they have embraced education about Ecosystem-base Management as a means to foster interest in and a desire to work towards the betterment of our marine environment.

Finally, we look at the work that Tane and Clare Bradley are doing at Agrisea with seaweed, as one part of the collective effort required to protect our coastal marine waters for future generations.

Turning the Tide shows what is happening under the surface of the ocean, and how human activities have been driving these changes. We see firsthand the work being done to restore our marine ecosystems across the country, hearing from the hapū, iwi, community leaders, stakeholders, and researchers who are leading the way. We showcase place-based exemplars that reflect the principles of ecosystem-based management, empowering mana moana, and the blue economy. And we show how different forms of knowledge have an important role to play in developing a healthy and resilient marine environment not just for us, but for generations to come.