The remote Kermadec Islands lie in the heart of one of the world’s great ocean wilderness areas. The 620,000-square- kilometre Kermadec region, located between New Zealand’s North Island and Tonga, straddles both tropical and temperate climates, and is home to whales and turtles, sharks, seabirds, fish, and deep-sea marine life. It also contains underwater volcanoes and a deep-sea trench, making the islands a hotspot for some of the most geologically active and biologically unusual features on the planet. In 2010, the National Geographic Society and Census of Marine Life declared the Kermadecs one of the ‘last pristine sites left in the ocean’.

With so many environmental riches, the Kermadecs are an area worthy of our protective stewardship. In May 2011, the Pew Environment Group’s Global Ocean Legacy campaign organized an artists’ voyage to
the Kermadecs. Partnering with the Royal New Zealand Navy and New Zealand Department of Conservation, Pew provided an opportunity for nine artists to experience the vast Kermadec region.

For nearly a week, these artists from the South Pacific followed the path of Polynesian voyagers, explorers, and scientists who had travelled to the region before them.

The extraordinary body of work that the voyaging artists have produced will inspire diverse responses from audiences in New Zealand and throughout the world. But at the very core of this project is the artists’ desire to articulate the issues that face the Kermadecs and the urgent need to safeguard the Earth’s marine environment.


Learn more about the Kermadecs at


Undersea New Zealand scale 1:4,000,000