Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Deep mysteries revealed as series returns to sea

Kina Scollay captures the monsters of the deep living off our shores. Photo / Jenny Oliver
Kina Scollay captures the monsters of the deep living off our shores. Photo / Jenny Oliver

Intrepid underwater cameraman Kina Scollay rubbed shoulders with some formidable monsters of the deep to bring Kiwi viewers the first glimpses of an unseen world.

The diver - who once narrowly survived a brutal attack by a great white shark by beating it off with a rock - is back on TV tonight for a second season of hit nature show Our Big Blue Backyard.

The six-part series will showcase New Zealand's marine animals in their natural habitat.

Tonight's opening episode features the Kermadecs, a pristine chain of volcanic islands 1000km north of Cape Reinga.

The islands have recently been steeped in controversy as a government proposal to create a marine sanctuary is being challenged by iwi-based commercial fishing interests.

"It was a coincidence we were there when the whole fishing row kicked off back home," Scollay told the Herald on Sunday. "Hopefully we will show the New Zealand public just why this unique environment has to be protected."

New Zealand's marine animals are showcased in popular series Our Big Blue Backyard, returning tonight.
New Zealand's marine animals are showcased in popular series Our Big Blue Backyard, returning tonight.

On land, Scollay and his team gathered rare footage of Tasman booby seabirds, which are long extinct elsewhere.

Under the sea they get up close and personal with giant groper fish, which grow to 2m long.

The new series also ventures to the active volcano White Island, the Chatham Islands, Canterbury's Banks Peninsula and Fiordland.

Executive Producer Judith Curran said the positive response to the first series guaranteed a new season.

And although iconic species dominate the new storylines, a cast of fascinating supporting characters offer drama, humour and even tragedy.

"A hallmark of this series is presenting memorable facts about our marine and coastal creatures that elicit a 'Wow! I didn't know that' response from our audience."

- Herald on Sunday

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