Hero photograph
Southern Right Whale
Photo by Will Rayment.

Wild Dunedin Podcast - 'Whale-come Home?'

Wild Dunedin —

Imagine walking along the water's edge at Ōtākou listening to the the gentle whoosh of the Tohorā, Southern Right Whales, breathing along with the moans and whelps of their social chatter. Once the Otago harbour was a place for whales to shelter. It's possible there were up to 50,000 whales around New Zealand. Recently some have been spotted returning to the mainland...will they ever come back to Otago Harbour in numbers?

This is the very first Wild Dunedin podcast with producers Claire Concannon and Jamie McAulay retrieved from Otago Access Radio's podcast catalogue.


We chose this episode as Dr Will Rayment was going to be one of our 7x7 Wild Talk guests for this year's festival.  Here he is given a lot longer than 7 minutes to talk about his favourite subject whales. 

Dr Will Rayment and his team of research scientists from the Department of Marine Science at the University of Otago talk about their work studying Southern Right Whales and they reveal some exciting, unexpected new findings not far off the Dunedin coast.

The Southern Right Whale population was completely decimated by whaling over a 50-year period in the early 1800s. By the late 1800s the whaling had stopped - not because of a ban or because anyone thought it was the right thing to do - but simply because they couldn’t find whales. It was thought they were extinct.

But they weren’t...

In the 1980's whale hide-outs in the Auckland and Campbell islands were discovered. Since 2010 scientists from the University of Otago have been conducting research trips to the Auckland Islands to check on the condition of the whales. No longer linked to mainland New Zealand these whales travel between feeding and calving grounds in the Subantarctic region.

Here is a video on the University of Otago research.

Southern Right Whales - University of Otago study led by Professor Steve Dawson and Dr Will Rayment University of Otago

You can find this episode online at Otago Access Radio...the address is:


This series was made possible through the assistance given by The Otago Museum and Otago Access Radio.