Kiri is a digital journalist for bayofplentytimes.co.nz.

Video of Tauranga's marine life to 'inspire children'

A Tauranga man who released a video showcasing experiences with whales, dolphins and seals says he hopes to inspire children to follow their dreams.

Kayaker Nathan Pettigrew is well known for his marine encounters and now he has compiled a "best of" video to help showcase some of the weird, wonderful sea life in Tauranga waters.

The video, Tauranga Moana is Awesome II, follows Mr Pettigrew's first marine life video compilation from 2014. Within a month of releasing Tauranga Moana is Awesome! it went viral around the globe, sparking feedback from Japan and China.

Mr Pettigrew hoped the new video, shot on a GoPro camera, would do likewise and potentially inspire young people to follow their dreams.

"I wanted to keep dreams alive for kids. That's how I started out; when I was a kid watching things on television," he said.

Mr Pettigrew has since experienced first-hand encounters with countless marine creatures including sharks, octopus, dolphins and leopard seals. He was one of a select few with a licence allowing him special permission to get close to marine life such as orca.

Mr Pettigrew said his other reason for the second video was to remind people of Tauranga's rich sea life, in a hope greater awareness would bring with it greater care.

"Most people in the water are good with marine life but you get the odd one who will push the limit. They might try to approach and orca and not realise it is sleeping or that a young orca is creeping up behind a boat's propeller, because they're curious and that's what they do," he said.

"It's to promote what we have here, we've got some pretty special waters around us. We've got this right here in a place we call home. There's an amount of pride with that."

Mr Pettigrew said he was flooded with feedback from people after his first video was released, many were surprised there was such a range of marine life on Tauranga's doorstep.

Like the first video, Mr Pettigrew's encounters with orcas feature but it was his recent encounters with humpback whales which were his highlight.

"There was something special to see a humpback whale," he said.

"I actually went out looking for sharks but I heard a whale blow and I kept paddling to the sound of the blow and a humpback whale popped up, 2km from where I started."

Mr Pettigrew said he hoped the video would encourage people to take a closer look around them when at the beach or walking around Mauao and enjoy what nature has to offer.

Not everyone can get close to a whale


It is an offence under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 (MMPA) to disturb, harass, harm, injure or kill a whale. Anyone charged under the MMPA with harassing, disturbing, injuring or killing a whale faces a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment or a fine to a maximum of $250,000.
Source - DoC

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