HAURAKI GULF

BELOW THE WATERLINE

Songs of the Sea

Most of us can’t remember the former abundance of the Hauraki Gulf, or what has been lost. Songs of the Sea is an innovative new media project produced by New Zealand Geographic and relying on the popularity of Instagram Stories to recall the memories of our pioneer divers, fishers and residents of the Gulf. Using archival photography, film and audio pulled from national archives we’ll deliver these stories to a new generation who are tasked with restoring the vitality of the Hauraki Gulf.

Hapuku were once abundant in the coastal waters of the inner Hauraki Gulf, but after century of exploitation, they are now rare in all but the deepest waters, mostly far from the mainland. Likewise, crayfish, were so common you could see hundreds of antennae sticking out above the water on rocky shores at low tide. They were probably the dominant species on reefs around the New Zealand coast, and are now functionally extinct in the Gulf.

Seascape

We’re supporting the pilot phase of Seascape, an ocean conservation innovation being developed by New Zealand Geographic. It aims to pioneer underwater photogrammetry technology to transform our understanding of the marine realm and provide a visual baseline for scientists.

The result will be a landscape-scale, photographic map of ecologically significant parts of the seafloor, providing high quality data and images that are freely available to researchers and the public.

Unlike sonar imaging, photogrammetry is millimetre accurate and true-colour, allowing researchers to accurately identify, count or measure individual organisms. It will help track habitat changes and allow for the exploration of habitats that are out of reach of diver-based surveys.

New Zealand Geographic have a deep commitment to the marine environment and are also a global leader in underwater virtual reality production. They produced the NZ-VR Project (rolled out in schools by Blake Trust), which has delivered 800,000 VR experiences to Kiwis to date.

HOW YOU
CAN HELP

We’re supporting the pilot phase of Seascape which aims to:

  • Develop pioneering underwater photogrammetry technology to transform our understanding of the marine realm and provide a visual baseline for scientists
  • Move from manual photogrammetric methods to technology that will allow the creation of hectare size models in the Hauraki Gulf and other significant sites around New Zealand
  • As the capability develops it will also be a powerful communication tool using augmented and virtual reality technologies

“Adapting photogrammetry technology for use underwater will give us the view of our marine habitats that satellite imagery provides on land. Our hope is that this insight leads to better decision making, more robust science, and a public more engaged in the fate of the marine space.”

JAMES FRANKHAM
NZ GEOGRAPHIC

Get on board

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