Prepare for take-off

Godwits and wrybills roost on chenier shell banks at Miranda, and the western shore of the Firth of Thames.

Produced by New Zealand Geographic

Each year, godwits will embark on the longest non-stop migration of any bird in the world, flying from this site to the Yellow Sea in China, then to Alaska, and returning across the Pacific, direct, to New Zealand.

At the outflow of the intensive dairy farmland of the vast Hauraki Plains, the Firth is among the most modified marine environments in New Zealand, with high turbidity, nutrient loads, pollution and very low levels of oxygen, particularly near the sea floor. It was once carpeted with 500 square kilometres of mussel beds that filtered the outflow of kahikatea swampland, but the kahikatea was felled, the swamps drained and the mussels dredged up by 1960. By then, the sedimentation in the Firth was too thick for mussels to re-establish.

Episodes From This Location

City of sails

1 minute / 2018

Waka-ama with Richard

1 minute / 2018

Prepare for take-off

1 minute / 2018

Islands of the Gulf

1 minute / 2018

Future food

1 minute / 2018

Dumped

1 minute / 2018

The remains of the day

1 minute / 2018

Spilling sewers

1 minute / 2018

Recreational fishing

1 minute / 2018

Meet the locals

1 minute / 2018

Off balance

1 minute / 2018

Sustainable fishing

1 minute / 2018

Bow riding

1 minute / 2018

Trevally traffic

1 minute / 2018

Beneath the boats

1 minute / 2018

City on the sea

1 minute / 2018