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Mostly, I know the Chatham Islands as that place that suddenly jerks your attention away from sweet reverie and reminds you you have tried but failed to listen to the Dunedin weather forecast on RNZ.
It is something about the sweet sounds of those place names ``Taupo'' and ``Taumarunui'', as the news reader sweeps south through our decent country, that gently prize the consciousness away from the bedrock of concentration needed to stick with the weather update till it gets to our lovely city.
The newsreader's golden syrup intonations lovingly pronounce ``Taupo'' and one's mind begins to drift, far, far away from the tiny radio set perched on a Formica table in Mornington to fabulous parties thrown by millionaires in sprawling mansions where one is taller and slimmer and infinitely more elegant, dressed in a suit that so subtly shows off one's fine physique, as, with Scarlett Johansson on one arm and Billie Piper on the other, one sweeps down a velvet carpeted staircase to the roar of fawning party-goers, basking in the glory of some superb triumph or other.
But as you dream the dreams of grandeur and prestige, and Scarlett whispers promises of barely legal erotic adventure gently into your right ear, a harsh crackle of static tears you from opulent gaiety and drags you back to the weather report as the news reader tells you a few showers will be developing late morning before turning to rain in the Chatham Islands and you realise you missed Dunedin's forecast completely.
That is what I know about the Chatham Islands.
Fortunately, important executive producer and Dunedin woman-about-town Judith Curran and her team of derring-do underwater NHNZ types know much, much more, and on Sunday on TV One at 7.30pm they will be showing us all we will ever need to know about the marine environment of that distant outcrop on Our Big Blue Backyard.
Season two of Our Big Blue Backyard began this month, after starring as one of TVNZ's most successful series in its first incarnation in 2014.
The show takes viewers underwater to show them queer sea creatures and odd marine ecosystems off the New Zealand coast.
New Zealand's remote Chatham Islands, I understand, attract roaming predators from all over the South Pacific, striving to survive in the heaving southern seas.
And Our Big Blue Backyard was there to film them.
Get ready to see remarkable shots of wild, wicked hunters, to witness the vicious battle for supremacy as blue cod and starfish scrap over rich paua beds, to thrill to the danger as a thriving seal colony lures the attention of murderous great white sharks.
The next few episodes will star Banks Peninsula, Fiordland and the Auckland Islands.
It's going to be choice.
- by Charles Loughrey