A symphony is taking place beneath the waves, as many different animals call to each other, scare off predators, stun their prey, or munch on algae. What happens when humans drown them out?
May 16, 2022

Listen to the undersea orchestra

Boing, thwop, muah, boop, scrapey-scrapey, click. Pop, growl, flub, crunch, wibber-wibber, snap.

The French scuba-diving pioneer and underwater filmmaker Jacques Cousteau called his 1956 Oscar-winning ocean documentary The Silent World, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Was Cousteau so distracted by the wonders he saw that he forgot to use his ears?

It’s not just the roar of the surf, the scatter of rain, the clinking of pebbles and the swoosh of kelp fronds. Crowds of kina crackle at dusk and dawn as they scrape algae from the rocks. Humpback whales teach each other songs. John Dory bark like dogs (and no one knows why). New Zealand bigeyes—small, nocturnal reef fish—make rhythmic pops in the dark to help them stay together as a school. Listen to them in this story...


Ka mate, ka ora

In the early 1800s, young Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha narrowly escaped death. His legacy lives on in the haka he composed. Keep reading...


So long, and thanks for all the fish

Where do Tamatea/Dusky Sound’s dolphins go? Starting in 2009, researchers spent a decade trying to find out, setting out 178 times in small boats in all seasons to track and identify the sound’s resident bottlenose dolphins—around 120 of them.

They found that the animals preferred to hang out in certain parts of the vast waterway, and that they particularly liked Te Puaitaha/Breaksea Sound (the long fiord at the north end of Dusky Sound) and the Bowen Channel (between Resolution and Long Islands). Keep reading...