Season 4


Who owns water? This SAMAQAN water story spans several episodes. Our stories were all filmed in New Zealand during their summer months in 2014. Our desire was to examine their unique views about water. We liken what they do  --to the values we share as Canadians, particularly when it concerns the environment.Our fascination lies in the mechanisms with which New Zealand citizens deal with water rights.

EPISODE 41: Kiatiaki 1

Water as Taonga at work (The McGuire family, members of the Pahutiki Marae in Hawks bay are struggling to restore the river system for once abundant species of flounder and “tuna” or eel.) Mr McGuire is Operation Patiki project manager. Read the report. Most Maori recognize the word and concept of Kaitiaki, or guardian. They apply a broad definition that is rooted in customary law. It can also be depicted in their art.

EPISODE 42: Kaitiaki 2

Other explorations at restoring river systems can be found in the question: how do people mitigate the damage caused by dams and de-forestation? A large question to be sure, but some insight can be gained by watching what Kaitiaki’s have done to help recover river eel populations. We meet Te Ariki Morehu and Bill Kersin, Matua of the Te Arawa lakes tribes.

EPISODE 43: Aotearoa

In the final installment of Water as Taonga, we visit the University of Waikato and discuss terms used in the Treaty of Waitangi in relation to Maori Water rights. Why are the Maori given land and not the water that encompasses the land? How are these rights justified? We visit the thermal pools of Whakarewarewa one of the oldest thermal villages in Rotorua New Zealand and discuss the ownership of land and energy.

EPISODE 44: The Sustainable Harvest

Salmon, halibut, lingcod, rockfishes, clams, abalone, urchins, prawn, crabs, shrimps, scallops, octopus, mussel, barnacles, seaweed and sea asparagus: These are some of the fish, shellfish microalgae and marine plants that form aspects of a sustainable harvest in the Pacific northwest. Will this food last forever? What would happen to the fishery if there ever was an oil spill in the waters around the archipelago? SAMAQAN brings you a mouth watering and sobering picture of a sustainable harvest in Haida Gwaii.

EPISODE 45: SEAWEED: What the Fucus?

In 2002 Dr. Dolly Garza took early retirement as a University professor to come and live on Haida Gwaii full-time. She is originally Haida from Alaska but married a future hereditary chief of the Haida nation. She has been harvesting seaweed for most of her life and now is an advocate of the many benefits of seaweed. Her book, Edible Seaweeds, are critically acclaimed. We attend her workshop on seaweed and we take a field trip with her. Jeff Bear cooks a dish with the seaweed “Fucus”.

EPISODES 46/47: HERRING ROE: Dead or Alive

The First Nations people of the west coast of British Columbia have been fishing pacific herring for centuries. Is this fishery dying out like other forms of fishery?

We visit the community of Bella Bella where in 1996 the first nations right to harvest Herring roe was recognized by the Supreme court of Canada in a historic ruling under the label of Gladstone VS the Crown. William Gladstone had been caught with 190 pails of herring roe on kelp. He was arrested but subsequently won the argument that it was his aboriginal right to harvest and market this precious, rare and delicate resource.
We’ll join several families to see how herring roe is harvested.

EPISODE 48: THE ELWHA RIVER: Taking Down the Dams

The removal of the Glines Canyon Dam and the Elwha Dam, a smaller downstream dam, began in late 2011. Three years later, salmon are migrating past the former dam sites, trees and shrubs are sprouting in the drained reservoir beds, and sediment once trapped behind the dams is rebuilding beaches at the Elwha's outlet to the sea. For many, the recovery is the realization of what once seemed a far-fetched fantasy. Robert Eloefsen takes us on a tour and explains how it all came about.

EPISODE 49: GULF SHRIMP: 4 Years and Counting

The beauty of a documentary series is that you can assess the impact of occurrences over a period of time. The effects of natural disasters in oceanic waters can be deadly for natural habitat and such was the case in the infamous oil explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The marine species of that region were devastated. We visit some shrimp fishermen to see what has changed since the oil spill of four years ago.

EPISODE 50: MOUNT POLLEY: Breach or Catastrophe

On August 4, ironically known as B.C. day, the Imperial Mines tailings pond dam in the north central British Columbia collapsed releasing 10 million gallons of toxic chemicals into a pristine wilderness. For three days the premier of the province lay low, the senior management of the mine was no where to be seen as a small tributary of Quesnell Lake, known as Hazeltine creek, was devastated, washed away when the torrents of toxic waste came gushing out of the so-called Mount Polley mine. It was the worst environmental disaster to hit this part of the world and everyone clamored to try to mitigate the damage.


Human hunger for energy is insatiable and the exploration for shale gas is causing up a stir among environmentally aware social groups. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing is the process of extracting shale gas from the depths of the earth. We take a unique approach and examine the activities of courageous individuals who have put their lives on the line. These two episodes bring our viewers to Fort MacKay ALTA where the 2014 Healing Walk took place. We follow Tantoo Cardinal to the place of her ancestors where women have shaped an annual gathering (this was their last gathering) to begin the process of healing from the damaging impact of the tar sands.