Every year an army of introduced predators devours the eggs and chicks of some 26 million native New Zealand birds, as well as countless insects, amphibians, reptiles and plants. We currently have more than 4000 natives on the threatened species list and many more vulnerable to predation – New Zealand’s catalogue of shame.
But in 2016, the nation decided enough was enough. Predator Free 2050 was born — an eviction order served on the three most voracious predators — rats, stoats and possums. It’s our most ambitious conservation effort ever and is to be enforced by hundreds of thousands of ordinary Kiwis.
Fight for the Wild takes viewers into the wild heart of Aotearoa and documents the desperate battle to protect it. It explores the notion of a Predator Free 2050 and asks whether this big, bold initiative is achievable and if so, how?
In Fight for the Wild we walk with the kaitiaki, ecologists, inventors and community trappers desperately defending our taonga species. We follow the fortunes of kea, kiwi, kākāriki and other native species and discover the fascinating initiatives underway as we come to their rescue. We examine the tough choices our nation needs to make as we navigate the challenges of protecting our wildlife. And among the hard decisions and desperate losses, we discover bold visions, hard won victories and hope.
Fight for the Wild is a call to action for all New Zealanders. It tells how each of us holds a piece of a jigsaw, and how, if we all play our part, we might just see a wilderness saved and our Wild returned.
"What has shone through in the filming of this series, is the incredible passion that so many New Zealanders have for our wildlife – from grassroot trappers, to community conservation groups and experts in the offices of Wellington, it’s clear that New Zealanders are strongly connected to our land and care deeply for our unique wildlife," said Series Producer, Director and Cameraman Peter Young.
"Predator Free 2050 (PF2050) is by far the biggest and best news I’ve reported in 20 years of covering conservation. It’s a defining moment for our wildlife, so the opportunity to collaborate with a storyteller of Peter’s calibre — to document that watershed – has been a personal highlight." said Dave Hansford, Series Co-Producer and Podcast Writer and Presenter.
RNZ's Head of Content Megan Whelan says the four-part series is the most ambitious project funded by the RNZ/NZ On Air Joint Innovation Fund. "Fight for the Wild brings together incredible images and interviews with mana whenua and other key figures in Aotearoa's fight to become predator free. It's a really important conservation story and is exactly the kind of project the Joint Innovation Fund was designed to create. We're stoked with it."
The first episode of the four-part documentary is released today on rnz.co.nz/wild and RNZ's channel on Freeview On Demand, with a new episode out every Monday. The series will then screen on TVNZ 1, with the first episode on Saturday 15 May at 7:30pm.
The podcast will be released on rnz.co.nz/wild and the usual podcast platforms every Monday from 10 May, with full episodes broadcast on Our Changing World at 9:06pm on Thursdays, and cutdown versions on Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan at 3:35pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Fight for the Wild is produced by Fisheye Films and made possible by the RNZ/NZ On Air Innovation Fund. With the support of The Biological Heritage National Science Challenge/Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho, NEXT Foundation, Predator Free 2050 Limited and Regional Councils of New Zealand Biosecurity & Biodiversity Forum