Hamish Campbell Q&A

Coast New Zealand has taken its presenters to some of our country's most breathtaking locations, so we thought we'd find out some of their favourites plus some behind the scenes antics.

1. What is your favourite memory from filming the latest season?

Hamish Campbell: Watching the diggers and trucks at work at the opencast coal mine on the Stockton Plateau near Westport.

Riria Hotere: Holding Margaret Marie, the kākāpō was an epic experience. She was soft and warm, and she smelled like roasted marshmallows mixed with that fresh green scent of a forest - sweet and earthy.

Jacky Geurts: Favourite memory would have to be heading out on the boat to see 7 gill sharks. As a marine biologist that was pretty special. But also taking a flight back from Stewart Island to the mainland was incredible. A sight you would rarely get to see, as the whole ocean was dead calm and the water still and flat and glassey. It was nature at its best. 

Matt Carter: My favourite memory would have to be seeing the steam engine and paddlewheel of the Tasmanian Maid take shape out of the gloom as we descended onto the wreck. For me, it is always a real thrill to dive a new shipwreck especially one that has such an amazing history. 


2. Do you have a favourite location you’ve visited this season? If so, why?

Hamish Campbell: Great Mercury Island/Ahuahu. A very special place, and so remote and so private.

Riria Hotere: Whenua Hou/Codfish Island. I heard around 15 different species of bird in the 36 hours I was there. It was incredibly loud but unforgettably beautiful.

Jacky Geurts: There were two places, Akaroa and Stewart island, because it's how NZ used to be. Stewart island, It's old school but has the stereotypical NZ beaches you would see in postcards and from and environmental and ecological standpoint it's a fantastic haven for our wildlife. Waking up with Kaka on my hotel doorstep and taking photos was such a neat surprise and a bird species I always wanted to see. 

Samaria however I fell in love with, and I got to go to an enchanting place that reminded me of something out of a nanny Mcphee movie. The place had geese, sheep, mice, penguins, seals and so much more. Plus it was nice to see white flippered penguins as that was my specialty when studying. 

Matt Carter: Without a doubt, Stewart Island. It is such a rugged beautiful place, the scenery is stunning, the locals couldn’t be friendlier, and we had brilliant sunny conditions for filming and diving. 


3. What have you learned that surprised you the most this season?

Hamish Campbell: The most abundant prehistoric animal remains found in the archaeological excavation site on Great Mercury Island is dog bone (kuri).

Riria Hotere: I feel like Whenua Hou was the most surprising learning experience. Going through the rigours of Quarantine; learning what it takes to keep Whenua Hou a predator-free zone; searching for, finding and holding a kākāpō - mind blowing! 

Jacky Geurts: I really enjoyed learning about the Japanese woman Keiko who lived on the inhospitable far side of Stewart Island. That story really made you think and wonder what drove her to reside there and in a cave. I left with more questions than answers and would have loved to have been able to have sit and converse with her. 

Matt Carter: I thought the story that a German U-boat had visited Napier in 1945 was just an urban myth. So, to find out that it was not only true, but that the Germans had actually fired a torpedo at a New Zealand ship was definitely surprising! 


4. Are there any parts of NZ you’re yet to explore? What is on the top of your list?

Hamish Campbell: Oh yes! Many places but from a ‘Coast New Zealand’ point of view, the Chathams Islands.

Riria Hotere: Rekohu/Chatham Island is where I would like to visit next. I've never been there and hear it's amazing. 

Jacky Geurts: Many places. I would love to get to the Chatham islands and the Auckland islands. They sound amazing. To be honest I love NZ and travelling around meeting people and hearing about their research and lives in general. I'm happy to visit anywhere. 

Matt Carter: There are so many places around New Zealand that are still on my bucket list to explore! On the top of my list would have to be the Auckland Islands for their remoteness and amazing maritime history, followed closely by exploring the much more recent wreck of the Rena. 


5. Can you share any funny behind the scenes stories from this season?

Hamish Campbell: A number of takes were required for the wine tasting on the Gimblett Gravels near Napier, and yours truly just got merrier and merrier. But my lasting memories relate to one of our very talented directors, Pria Viswalingam, who is a born comedian; he cracks me up just thinking about him!

Riria Hotere: Funny things that happen behind the scenes usually involve me tripping over my own feet and disappearing out of shot. One time, while riding a jetski along the Waitara coastline, I took a sharp turn and fell off the jetski into the deep blue sea, drowning my microphone and capturing the whole thing on a Go Pro camera that I had in my hand. Thankfully, that shot didn't make it to the final cut or my days as a jetski world record holder would be over.

Jacky Geurts:  It was at Coromandel at Hot Water Beach and I had to jump into the little puddle that we had dug out. The water was warm with cold patches but where I was sitting was where the hot vents were coming out with boiling hot water. So during my whole interview I would keep leeping up every time my bottom would get burnt. 

Matt Carter: As part of my story in the Coromandel, I got to climb a huge Kauri tree. We had some local tree arborists helping us with the ropes and harnesses that we needed for the climb. One of the guys went first to show me how it was done and he stepped off the railing swung gracefully over to the trunk and took off up the tree.

Following his lead, I stepped off the railing into thin air and promptly spun around about six times on my rope before crashing into the trunk and ending up horizontal to the ground. As I spun around one last time, I saw the crew including the director and camera man absolutely wetting themselves with laughter. Fortunately, after that shaky start, the rest of the climb was a fantastic experience and we got some great footage.