Whitianga Oceans Festival develops the ‘Oceans Zone’ at this year’s festival

After 17 years the Whitianga Scallop Festival has evolved to be the Whitianga Oceans Festival. A local rahui on scallops and the issues the local sea beds are facing encouraged festival organisers to focus on restoring the sea bed as well as educating others as to the role they can play.

As well as delivering a festival centred around seafood, music, beverages and entertainment, there is the opportunity to entertain and educate the festival goers with what lies below the surface of the ocean and how to sustain that.

New to this year’s festival is the Oceans Zone. Dive Zone Whitianga hosts some amazing festival partners who are passionate about the environment and the catching and using the whole fish leaving nothing to waste.

South Seas Spearo

In the Zone will be Sam Wild, 28, who is a keen spearfisherman, a commercial diver and an underwater camera operator. He has a degree in marine biology and lives in Nelson. Alongside Sam is South Seas Spearo Producer Dave Shaw, who has a degree in Zoology and has spent the last 15 years filming in the great outdoors for series such as the ITM Fishing Show & The Hunters Club, and rounding out the team will be local lad Julian Hansford – multiple spearfishing national champion and South Seas Spearo founding member.

Sam and Dave are part of the production crew on South Seas Spearo, a popular local television series about spearfishing. They will host presentations throughout the festival sharing some of the amazing footage from their many spear fishing adventures.

The Dive Zone team will be cooking up a storm with the line caught local snapper and the catch by the South Sea Spearo team while they are here.


LegaSea is a non-profit organisation dedicated to restoring the abundance, biodiversity and health of New Zealand’s marine environment. 

 In 2016, LegaSea helped found The Kai Ika Project which shares fish heads and frames with families who appreciate this seafood.  Since then over 150,000 kilos of fish parts have been diverted from landfill and repurposed for consumption or organic use.

Kai Ika

In the Oceans Zone, The Kai Ika filleters will be providing continual demonstrations of fish filleting techniques as they prepare the fish which was locally line caught by Moana Fisheries for our three celebrity chefs on the cooking stage. Anything not utilised at the festival will be donated to the local iwi, Ngati Hei.  The ‘slow fish concept’ is embraced here – fish local, fish sustainably and use the whole fish.

Whitehaven Wines

Attending the festival is Whitehaven Wine Company from Marlborough with their Kōparepare wine label. Their mission with this label is “Together, restoring our oceans” and for every bottle sold Whitehaven funds the work of LegaSea in support of marine conservation in New Zealand.

Whitehaven is a fully committed LegaSea Platinum Partner who has developed a range of high quality wines to support LegaSea. The Whitehaven team is excited to bring Kōparepare to the festival, and look forward to wine sales on the day making a difference to the Coromandel Scallop Restoration Campaign.  Whitehaven would normally donate $1 for every bottle sold, but has pledged to donate 100% of Kōparepare wine sales at the festival on 18 September to the Programme. This effort will kick off a wider campaign where 100% of all Kōparepare wines sales will be donated to LegaSea, for a limited period of time.

Festival organisers are excited to be adding the Oceans Zone to the festival to be enjoyed by the thousands that attend with the aim of raising awareness of the role each person can play in restoring the New Zealand marine environment.

Email Us

Contact Us

  • pStallholder & General enquiries: Jane Thomas
  • +64221321793
  • pCo-ordinator: Nick Reader
  • +6421632721