Ends of the Earth

Monday 22 January, 7.30pm on One

This week Paul Henry meets South Islander John Gendall, a professional fishing guide, working seasonally in Russia’s arctic circle.

For five years, Gendall has guided guests catching and releasing the exclusive Arctic Salmon, and under now he’s going to come up against his most difficult client yet – Paul Henry, who thinks going fishing is trying for a compliment! Gendall also takes Henry to explore the extreme landscape and a community on the edge of the world where the land meets the Barents Sea – a day that Paul describes as one of his most fascinating ever.
“I have been to a lot of far-flung places but this really deserves to be called the ends of the earth,” says Henry. “In the artic circle, where you’re standing with a family of people who live thousands of kilometres from the nearest road, and they’re cold and bereft of any luxury in life. In the winter, they’re hunkered down in darkness in stone houses to keep warm and you’re right on the doorstep of the barren sea, which is frozen in winter and you just look around and you think, ‘this definitely qualifies to be the ends of the earth’.”

Paul then lands in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s former capital city to meet Mark Jackson, trouble-shooter for the massive oil and gas industry that arrived in Kazakhstan after it declared independence in 1991. Jackson spends his weeks airlifting injured workers off rigs in the Caspian Sea, or arranging the rescue of sick ex-pats from the extraordinarily remote steppe of Northern Kazakhstan. In between, his job is to try and make sure people don’t get ill or injured in the first place as the oil and gas platforms are inherently dangerous to begin with and their isolated locations make risks even greater.

Paul Henry goes in search of New Zealanders in the most extreme places of the world. Part-travel series, part-personal documentary ‘Ends of the Earth’ discovers how our culture, our heritage, our way of life has bred such unique and diverse people.

The series is as much about Henry and his crew trying to reach the destination as it is about the people they find when they get there. The New Zealanders featured are Kiwis who have left our shores and gone beyond the London tube and the Bondi Tunnel to live extraordinary lives in the far corners of the planet.

The show discovers each unique corner of the world, and tries to understand how personal culture, heritage and way of life influences life overseas and our interactions with others.

In Ends of the Earth , presenter and journalist Paul Henry will lead us further off the beaten track. He offers an intelligent personality, not afraid to experience life and to observe it with his unique quirky sense of humour firmly in place in all conditions. He is an avid traveller with stories of war zone reporting.

All of us know that getting there is half the fun – or sometimes half the nightmare. The people featured have adapted (some better than others) to life in the desert or a war-zone or minus 40 degrees and offer a more local perspective on the place’s pros, cons and idiosyncrasies.

The destinations will sometimes be dangerous and will always be unusual – Sudan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Amazon, the Arctic and the Cocos Islands. The series balances, very smoothly, the story between Paul’s journey and the New Zealander’s living and working in these locations and their life and observations. It is comical, fascinating, enlightening and often surprising – the viewer will wonder week after week “What the hell are they doing there?”

Series starts Monday, January 8th at 7:30 on TV One.

Paul Henry goes in search of New Zealanders in the most extreme places in the world.

Part-travel series, part-personal documentary Paul discovers how our culture, our heritage and our way of life has bred such unique and diverse people.

In the first episode: Paul visits two Kiwi women working in Afghanistan.