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Doco on vital non-lethal whale research premieres at IceFest

Media Release
Friday, 14 September 2012

Doco on vital non-lethal whale research premieres at IceFest

NHNZ’s latest documentary Hunting the Ice Whales premieres in New Zealand this Wednesday, 19th September, at the inaugural IceFest in Christchurch.

Hunting the Ice Whales tells the remarkable story of the 2010 Antarctic Whale Expedition - a shared venture between Hobart-based Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) and New Zealand’s key marine and Antarctic research agencies - to prove it’s possible to conduct research on whales without killing them.

The documentary takes viewers on a dynamic rollercoaster ride through the Southern Ocean, following a team of scientists on board the NIWA research vessel, RV Tangaroa. Led by top marine mammal researcher Nick Gales, they battle horrendous conditions to implant satellite tags and retrieve whale biopsies. In the short window of opportunity open to them, the crack team gathered unprecedented data on where these great leviathans double their body weight while feeding during the Antarctic summer.

For NHNZ producer Max Quinn, filming Hunting the Ice Whales was “one of the most dramatic shoots” of his career. He not only witnessed ground-breaking scientific research into one of the world’s most controversial environmental issues, but also endured the worst weather conditions he has experienced in Antarctica.

“It’s great timing for this film to be premiering in New Zealand. The battle between those killing whales for scientific research and those attempting to stop them is on-going. And it’s time for people to understand there are other ways to research these whales effectively. Hunting the Ice Whales is proof of that.”

Max, who has produced 15 documentaries in the icy regions of Antarctica and the Arctic, will be giving a short talk before the premiere about the challenges faced filming in such environments.
Hunting the Ice Whales is screening at 7.30pm, 19 September 2012 at the UC Geo Dome, Christchurch. Tickets can be purchased via the IceFest website

NHNZ is a major global producer of factual television creating original content for National Geographic Channels, Discovery Channels, Smithsonian Channel, A&E Television Networks, 3net and NHK. Highly regarded for its 30-year plus natural history heritage, more recently NHNZ has branched out to other factual genres with hit shows like I Survived for A&E’s Bio Channel. The company’s storytelling prowess has been recognized with more than 250 international awards including Emmy awards and the prestigious Wildscreen Panda. In addition to its base in Dunedin, New Zealand, NHNZ has offices in Beijing and Washington DC, and controlling stakes in Singapore production company Beach House Pictures and South African-based Aquavision.

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