Premiering tonight on TVNZ DUKE, Tara Ward explores the salty depths of Spiky Gold Hunters.
Spiky Gold Hunter is Country Calendar for hard arses. DUKE’s new documentary series follows six Kiwis as they search the Foveaux Strait for kina, a job with great financial reward but huge risk. These divers work in some of the most remote parts of the country, they’re surrounded by unpredictable wildlife, and if they hold their breath too long they’ll lose consciousness. Worst of all, you get pimples in your arse crack from wearing a wetsuit all day – almost never a good thing.
“You’re pretty shit out of luck if you black out in this job,” the divers of Spiky Gold Hunters reckon, because free diving for kina pushes their bodies to the limit. The longer the divers hold their breath, the more kina they’ll catch, and the more cash they’ll make. The danger is worth it. Divers can earn up to $2,000 a day if they hit the right spot, which is why they’re called the ‘Spiky Gold Hunters’, plumbing the ocean depths in search of these rich, tasty and rare nuggets.
But this show isn’t just about the diving. It’s about the yarns and the banter between mates as they explore New Zealand’s most wild and isolated places. The blokes of Spiky Gold Hunters are pretty wild themselves. Take Red Dog, who we first meet as he retells a tale about unblocking the boat’s toilet. A shippy shitter, if you will. “My guts are ready to give that toilet a thrashing,” he says. “Toilet blew up, shit everywhere. In my hair, in my face, just fuckin’ UARGHAHH!”
Uarghahh, indeed. If you want better work stories, get thee to Bluff. Red Dog’s diving mate Raymond wears a ‘Paua to the People’ t-shirt and aims to make $150,000 a year from catching kina. Sure, he gets into hairy situations – like when the dinghies take on water in remote Dusky Sound – but Raymond loves it. “I was shitting my pants. I was shitting myself, like, properly,” he says, and I think again of those bum zits and Red Dog’s bog and wonder if $1,000 a day is enough.
They’re crazy bastards on Spiky Gold Hunters, diving into the cold waters of the deep south just to make a living. But what else might these intrepid divers pull from the ocean floor? What other treasures of the deep could they stumble across, and what have we collectively told to get in the sea that has actually heard our hopes and prayers? Like a pustule on a damp buttock, I’m not going anywhere until we find out.
The Giant Santa
May he forever bathe in the tepid waters of retirement. My heart will go on, etc.
Jack from Titanic
Drawing giant squid like one of his French girls.
New Plymouth’s local government poo election campaign
Headlines were made on land and sea when the New Plymouth District Council tried to make voting trendy by covering it in shit, but this movement was a stinker. Voter turnout was 2% (literally a number two) less than the previous election, and the giant turd balloons that floated silently around North Taranaki haven’t been seen since.
Your neighbour’s fireworks
Where they belong.
The Spinoff’s Dirtbag Bird of the Year
Is this karma, or are birds just the fish of the land?
Google Street View Camera
Because that thing pops up bloody everywhere.
Great Kiwi Bake Off’s Battenburg Cakes
Listen, anything wrapped in marzipan should be thrown over the side immediately. This year’s intrepid GKBO bakers tried to whip up a Battenburg so moist it made the sea jealous, but sadly they created the driest afternoon tea in the history of tiny forks. The Battenburg deserves a watery grave.
Probably eating Battenburg Cake while he floats by on a turd balloon.
Many old people are hopeful their salty tears will wash these words away so that they never see or hear them again. Alas, OK Boomer is doomed to rise again like sea levels and the average daily temperature.
The Loch Ness Monster
Yes, I know lakes are different to oceans, and yes, I’ve watched that movie where Lassie went to Scotland and saw the Loch Ness Monster with his own doggy eyes. But stranger things have happened, and I believe.
See above, re: stranger things.
Baby Shark, do do do do do do
You can watch Spiky Gold Hunters on TVNZ DUKE at 8:30pm on Wednesdays.
This content was created in paid partnership with TVNZ. Learn more about our partnerships here.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.