In search of the giant kokopu

The giant kokopu (Galaxias argenteus) is one of five native galaxiid fish species which, as juveniles, make up the whitebait catch in New Zealand. Many people don't realise that this national delicacy can grow to such significant proportions, with adult giant kokopu of over 450 mm reported.

As part of a recent school project, Dion Way and Isaac Goodwin from Ngatea Primary School ( have produced a documentary about the elusive giant kokopu. They were inspired to make the film when they saw another of the kokopu species, the banded kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus), whilst on a recent holiday. They also said "We chose this topic because we think the native wildlife is very important to New Zealand."

During the making of their film, Dion and Isaac joined Dr Paul Franklin and Josh Smith from the NIWA freshwater fish team on a search for giant kokopu. You'll have to watch the video to see what happened!

Dion and Isaac entered their documentary 'The Giant Kokopu' into the 2011 New Zealand Media and Digital Excellence (MADE) Awards ( Almost 500 entries were received from around New Zealand and after first claiming the Year 7 & 8 documentary category from a field of six finalists, Dion and Isaac went on to claim the overall Supreme Award!

The judges commented "This is a good, honest documentary that just hits the spot. The script is well researched, the production is good, the presentation is enjoyable, and an important message is delivered with a confident yet self-effacing style that's great to watch. You'll learn a lot from this - which is the measure of any great documentary."

Dion and Isaac were extremely proud of their achievement and said "We enjoyed this experience because we got to go with you to see how you protect the fish. We also enjoyed watching you do electric fishing and spot lighting." They added that they hope everyone who sees their video enjoys it!

More information on giant kokopu from NIWA:

Isaac Goodwin & Dion Way with their awards
A giant kokopu