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Episode 2: Hook, Line and Sinker

Episode 2: Hook, Line & Sinker

Richard Kibblewhite has been catching fish, crayfish and paua off the Southern Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa coastlines for more than two decades.

Although Australian-born, Richard went to school in the tiny settlement of Porangahau which is also where he met Jean, his childhood sweetheart and now his wife.

After leaving school, Richard did an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering. As newly-weds, he and Jean then travelled to Broome in Western Australia to try their hand at pearl diving, a dangerous but lucrative occupation.

With money in the bank, they returned home and looked for a new investment. A chance encounter with an old school friend convinced them to try diving for paua and Richard bought some quota and began his career in fishing.  

Paua diving is seasonal so Richard also began cray fishing which meant investing in a boat that could cope with the wild conditions sometimes experienced on the Wairarapa coastline.

He continued to grow his operation, venturing north to Gisborne to catch fish for Gisborne Fisheries.  That led to a partnership and a new boat - called Pearler - that specialises in long-line fishing.

But his commitment to fishing has made him aware that as an industry group, fishers are getting older.  To help attract fresh blood, he employs young people, teaching them new skills and encouraging them to make fishing a career. 

Henry Brennan, skipper of Pearler, is one of Richard's protégés.  The 24-year-old, who joined Richard's team as a 16-year-old school leaver, says he initially had doubts about a life at sea. Now, however, with a share in the Pearler and the relative independence he enjoys, he says he wouldn't change a thing.

Richard intends to keep up his recruitment programme, giving young people initial training on his boat operating off the Wairarapa coast and handing them greater responsibility once they've mastered the basics.

Other sites to visit:
For more about commercial fishing in New Zealand


Richard Williams

Field sound
Don Paulin

Offline editor
Brent Whitwell

Online editor
Alex Wright

Sound mixer
Ian Leslie

Vivienne Jeffs

Network executive
Jude Callen

Consultant producer
Frank Torley

Associate producer
Dan Henry

Production manager
Robyn Best

Frank Torley

Julian O'Brien