Craig Mckenzie

Photographer of the Year 2012

Congratulations to the winners of the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2012. Competition was strong this year with more than 3100 entries—the largest number ever received. During a long judging day, just 39 finalists were selected across four categories, and the coveted New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year award.

Written by      

Press photographers flocked to Tauranga to record the MV Rena disaster and subsequent clean-up, but it proved a very difficult assignment. For safety reasons, vessels were kept a great distance from the wreck, the potential for aerial photography was limited and press were corralled into conferences. Few photographers captured frames that illustrated the scale of the environmental disaster, the public will to clean it up and the helplessness felt by authorities. Bruce Mercer’s frames had tremendous energy and insight. He shot close to the action where possible, and used a long lens judiciously to compress the foreground and distant background to create the strongest set of imagery from that event. In the heat of political and public attention, Mercer created a story that made him New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2012.
Flax weevils are large, flightless beetles that live only on flax. The nocturnal invertebrates spend their daylight hours around the plant’s base, hiding from predators such as rats. Fossil remains show that weevils were once widely distributed across the North Island, but are now largely confined to rodent-free islands.
Tasman Lake has been formed by the retreat of the Tasman Glacier. The 29-kilometre-long glacier has gradually melted and thinned over the last century, with sections of the valley floor left covered in rock, sand and clay transported by the glacier. The lake began to form beneath the lowest section of the glacier in the 1980s, and has grown over subsequent years.
Tasman Lake has been formed by the retreat of the Tasman Glacier. The 29-kilometre-long glacier has gradually melted and thinned over the last century, with sections of the valley floor left covered in rock, sand and clay transported by the glacier. The lake began to form beneath the lowest section of the glacier in the 1980s, and has grown over subsequent years.
Welcome swallows move so quickly when they are courting that only a photograph can truly capture the experience, says David Hallett. He saw this pair near a nesting site at the southern end of Lake Ellesmere, one of his favourite locations. The whole episode was over in three minutes. The pair flew in, interacted four times, then flew off together.
Welcome swallows move so quickly when they are courting that only a photograph can truly capture the experience, says David Hallett. He saw this pair near a nesting site at the southern end of Lake Ellesmere, one of his favourite locations. The whole episode was over in three minutes. The pair flew in, interacted four times, then flew off together.
The 2011 White Sunday celebrations in Auckland began with a procession of around 100 children and parents along Great North Road to Avondale Union Parish church. White Sunday, or Lotu Tamaiti, is among the most important dates in the Samoan religious calendar. Children enjoy special privileges, such as speaking in church and being served first at the lunch feast. White is worn to symbolise the purity of a child’s heart.
The 2011 White Sunday celebrations in Auckland began with a procession of around 100 children and parents along Great North Road to Avondale Union Parish church. White Sunday, or Lotu Tamaiti, is among the most important dates in the Samoan religious calendar. Children enjoy special privileges, such as speaking in church and being served first at the lunch feast. White is worn to symbolise the purity of a child’s heart.
The 40-minute drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy hugs the coast of Lake Wakatipu. Kah Kit Yoong took his time on the journey. Under an “ethereal light”, he set up a tripod to photograph storm clouds over the lake. “I enjoy this photo just as much as the day I made it,” he says. “Timelessness is a quality that I have found elusive, so I treasure it all the more.”
The 40-minute drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy hugs the coast of Lake Wakatipu. Kah Kit Yoong took his time on the journey. Under an “ethereal light”, he set up a tripod to photograph storm clouds over the lake. “I enjoy this photo just as much as the day I made it,” he says. “Timelessness is a quality that I have found elusive, so I treasure it all the more.”

From a raft of penguins crashing onto rocks in the subantarctic islands to a pair of fishermen enjoying fish and chips on Mangere Bridge in Auckland, the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2012 competition offers a unique vision of our country’s environment and culture.

The 39 finalist images, submitted by seasoned professionals and weekend shutterbugs alike, were displayed at the Auckland Museum, adjoining NZ-LIFE, an exhibition celebrating the past three years of the prestigious photographic competition.

The frames represent the diversity of both the New Zealand environment and our social fabric. They capture a three-year quest to photograph an elusive fish, families enjoying the simple pleasures of New Zealand life and pivotal moments in New Zealand’s history over the past few years.

New Zealand Geographic would like to congratulate Bruce Mercer, supreme winner and New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2012.

PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2012: BRUCE MERCER

Press photographers flocked to Tauranga to record the MV Rena disaster and subsequent clean-up, but it proved a very difficult assignment. For safety reasons, vessels were kept a great distance from the wreck, the potential for aerial photography was limited and press were corralled into conferences. Few photographers captured frames that illustrated the scale of the environmental disaster, the public to clean it up and the helplessness felt by the authorities. Bruce Mercer’s frames had tremendous energy and insight. He shot close to the action where possible, and used a long lens judiciously to compress the foreground and distant background to create the strongest set of imagery from that event. In the heat of political and public attention, Mercer created a story that made him New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2012.

ALL AWARDS: