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Beauty in Violence on Maori Television


Beauty in Violence on Maori Television

Hawaii – just the name conjures up images of a tropical island paradise. But, beyond the tourism Mecca and magnet for all things romantic and beautiful lurks another Hawaii. See what is hidden behind this perceived paradise on EXTREME HAWAII, screening on Maori Television on Tuesday July 12 at 8.30 PM.

According to scientific theory, the eight main islands and 130 tiny islands stretching 1600 miles across the Pacific Ocean were created by violent geological forces rarely seen anywhere else in the world. Massive tectonic plates slid slowly over a great volcanic hot spot and the lava, built up from eruptions, created the islands.

Hawaii is recognised as one of the world’s most outstanding volcanic utopias, presenting a landscape moulded by molten rock and broiling lava and a seascape marked by enormous breaks, bubbling underwater craters and steam plumes that shoot hundreds of feet into the air.

According to indigenous myth however, Pele – the goddess of fire and volcanoes – helped create the islands. Pele was chased from island to island by her sister, the sea goddess Na-maka-o-kaha’i. Angry at her more powerful sister, Pele erupted and when the lava cooled, a new island was formed. She has now settled in the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii; a volcano that has been erupting continuously and destroying everything in its way since 1983.

EXTREME HAWAII traces the extreme and beautiful volatility of the Hawaiian environment as experienced by those who flock to her shores for enlightenment. From surfers to astronomers and deep sea divers to botanists, those united in the quest to tame Hawaii’s forces present a darker and more dangerous reality to the idyllic island image.

One artist, Steve Lang, diverts 2000-degree molten lava flows into molds to create sculptures. Others join in the battle against invasive plant and animal species that now threaten to overrun the islands. Others are more adventurous.

Says extreme windsurfer Ricky Griggs : “There’s this one unique spot on the North Shore of Maui where the bottom is shaped into a ridge or a reef that extends offshore. The sides of the wave bend in the middle and energy continues to converge, and then it becomes so unstable and so huge that the energy just explodes. And that’s, of course, Jaws.” Risking stress on their lungs and heart, dislocated joints, broken bones and being thrust to the bottom of the sea by gargantuan 50-foot waves, Griggs and other extreme surfers train intensively to be able to surf off the Hawaiian coast.

For astronomer Hector Rodriguez, the opportunity to perch on the cinder cones of Mauna Kea at 14,000 feet above sea level to gaze at stars is irresistible. Here, at the highest point in the south Pacific, scientists search for clues about the creation of the universe. While putting aside all vertigo and combating the affects of high altitude, Rodriguez and cohorts are exposed to the clearest picture of the cosmos in the southern hemisphere.

“It’s helped us understand how galaxies are formed. It’s helped us, or in my case, it’s helped me understand that there’s a super massive black hole at the centre of our own galaxy and we’ve also been able to learn that the universe may not be only expanding but accelerating,” says professor of astronomy Dr Andrea Ghez.

Providing a stark alternative to the postcard perfect arcadia, EXTREME HAWAII screens on Maori Television this Tuesday July 12 at 8.30 PM.



Year Not available
Censor General Exhibition (G)
Duration Hour-long documentary
Language English language

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