Deep NZ: Our underwater wilderness 

30 Nov 2012 – 30 Nov 2014
Level 3
Free entry

Juvenile king crab (Neolithodes brodiei).
Juvenile king crab (Neolithodes brodiei). Photograph courtesy of NIWA

Travel deep down into New Zealand’s ocean and you’ll discover a wilderness of underwater mountains, great canyons, and vast plains of rubble and mud. Contrary to what you might expect – and to what scientists once thought – this deep, dark world is teeming with life.

The deep sea ranges from 200 metres to more than 10,000 metres. Light fades as you descend, becoming too dim for plants to survive, and below 1,000 metres darkness prevails. The water is generally bitterly cold, but in some areas, volcanic vents release super-heated water. Animals have adapted to these extreme conditions in amazing ways.

Showcased in this exhibition are research findings from Te Papa, NIWA, and GNS Science. Research is vital – to learn more about this mysterious underwater world and ensure its sustainable management. The sea in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone covers more than 4 million square kilometres, yet less than 1 percent has been closely studied – a mere drop in the ocean.

Exhibition videos