Ata Whenua

When you fly Fiordland you encounter land formations, cloud formations and shadows that few other people experience.  The driving winds and the thundering rain create a unique environment that demands respect.

Fiordland Helicopters owner/pilot Kim Hollows has condensed the natural beauty of Fiordland  into a 32 minute film for visitors who are unable to fly and experience  it for themselves.   “Ata Whenua – Shadowlands” is a cinematic journey which shares both the awe and humility he feels for one of the most inspiring beautiful places on earth.  It is an attempt to bring to you a rare glimpse of a wilderness few have the opportunity to experience.

What does “Ata Whenua” mean?

Maori would often refer to the mountain terrain in the Fiordland region as “Ata Whenua”, or “Shadowland” – a land so high and sheer as to rarely permit the sun through every valley.

Little has changed since either Maori or Europeans first voyaged through. Such is the beauty of the south west corner of New Zealand – 1.2 million hectares of virgin rainforest, each of the 14 fiords carving their way into over 200 kilometres of coastline, and sheer granite mountains rising from sea level to over 2700 metres – that in 1986 Fiordland National Park was awarded World Heritage Status.”From the sea for as far inland as the eye can reach, nothing is to be seen but the summits of these rocky mountains which seem to lay so near one another as not to admit any valleys between them.”

– James Cook describing Fiordland on his voyage of discovery in 1770.

Click here to buy the Ata Whenua DVD ($35.00) »