Season opening

The Waiwhakaiho runs to sea at New Plymouth—the end of a short 25-kilometre flow across Taranaki’s ring plain from the top of the mounga.

Produced by New Zealand Geographic

It’s the first day of the whitebait season, and Eddie Smith has brought out his whitebait trap for a shakedown with his grandson Elijah Whitmore.

The stoney bottom is unique to Taranaki’s steep river systems, as is the whitebaiters’ shuffle to scatter their quarry upstream and into the trap. The pair will go home empty-handed this time, but there’s another three and half months to try their luck again.

Rivers radiate from Taranaki across the ring plain—highways for whitebait migrating upstream to grow into kokopū, kōaro and īnanga. But the flow is regularly diverted for farm irrigation schemes, used to spin the turbines of power stations and for drinking water. Structures divide, modify and interrupt Taranaki’s fast-flowing rivers and create catchments from which fish can’t reach the headwaters. Fish passes—such as at the Mangorei Power Station—ensure the connectivity of the river system.

Episodes From This Location

Cod kingdom

1 minute / 2019

Science on the reef

1 minute / 2019

Taking the bar

1 minute / 2019

Tending the flock

1 minute / 2019

A bird in the hand

1 minute / 2019

Season opening

1 minute / 2019

Fishing for conservation

1 minute / 2019

Network tech

1 minute / 2019

Deadwood

1 minute / 2019

Whitewater life

1 minute / 2019

Behold the ‘goblin forest’

1 minute / 2019

Te Mounga

1 minute / 2019