Saving tuna

A documetary that reveals the extraordinary life-cycle of the longfin eel (tuna), its history among Māori tribes, and the passion of iwi and individuals to help the threatened eel.

Eels live as long as humans, up to a hundred years and more, and can grow to enormous size. But they only breed once, in a mysterious location in the Pacific, and then they die. The journey the young eels make, from the ocean depths near Tonga to the mountainous headwaters of New Zealand’s rivers, is an extraordinary feat of endurance and navigation.

Tuna is a listed in tribal whakapapa stretching back to Ranginui and Paptauanuku, and many tribes tell of Tuna’s ancient battle with Maui. Eels were an important food source for most iwi, who dried and preserved them in large quantities during the annual tunaheke (migration).

However, the eel’s survival is now severely threatened with the longfin population decreasing significantly after overfishing in the 70s, pollution of waterways, draining of swamps and damming of rivers.

Saving Tuna looks closely at how the tuna is being affected and why. And how iwi are regenerating their old friend the tuna.

Learn more about the making of the documentary »

Saving Tuna

60 min documentary, 27th October 2012