Sunday, August 15, 2010


In 1968, Kelly Tarlton and I were in a diving partnership and living on the Tutukaka Coast so we could explore the fantastic Poor Knights Islands nearby.  When we were diving up at the Three Kings Islands, in New Zealand's farthest north, I found a pile of coins in a wreck at the West King Island.  Discovery of the Elingamite treasure was a major turning point in my life.  I quit high school teaching and became a full time writer/undersea explorer.  It led to exploring other famous NZ wrecks: the massacre ship Boyd, SS Wairarapa, SS Niagara, etc and to researching their histories on which I based a series of radio plays commissioned by R.N.Z.

In the mid-seventies, aboard undersea research ship R.V. El Torito with Dr Walter Stark, an American Cousteau parallel, I assisted in the filming of war wrecks in the Solomon Islands including the giant Japanese cargo submarine I1 sunk by a plucky little minesweeper of the NZ navy.  I wrote about these adventures in my books Sharks and Other Ancestors and Islands of Survival.

Still Image Bank: photos and transparencies scanned to CD ROM.

            Elingamite Treasure: 16 mm film made by Kelly Tarlton and Wade Doak depicting our treasure salvage in 1969.  B/W only.*
            Elingamite : 2002 Greenstone TV doco [ John Harris, producer:-Ship Wreck series ] which tells wreck story and the plight of the survivors with Doak interviews.
            Boyd:  Greenstone TV doco tells story of culture clash as in my book: The Burning of the Boyd.
            Dive Treasure from the Three Kings:  TVNZ Inside NZ Series / presenter Sinclair 2002.  * This doco includes the original colour film taken by Tarlton/Doak in 1969.  Re-enacting certain sequences we ran out of air and had to abandon some treasure coins on a reef in Matapouri Bay!  Trophies for future beach strollers with metal detectors…

[NB: I have 3 chip digi footage of myself re-enacting the discovery of treasure coins underwater]
Image bank: extensive photos and tranies.

Books: The Elingamite and its Treasure Wade Doak 1969
              The Burning of the Boyd Wade Doak 1984

Radio Play:
                        RNZ archives have a dramatised radio play I wrote about the 1902 Elingamite ship wreck.  Another on the 1809 Boyd wreck in Whangaroa Harbour.  And I scripted a series of other shipwreck plays on HMS Orpheus, Wairarapa etc.


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