I love film as a mechanism for behavioral change on environmental issues and in the historical genre, a medium to bring the past alive and encourage learning. My film apprenticeship was with award winning New Zealand film maker David Sims – we co-produced a fascinating New Zealand history documentary together on a shipwreck on Northland’s rugged north-west coast. Since then I have worked on underwater television series – NHNZ’s Our Big Blue Backyard six episode series, and directed for the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi three films, two of which have won awards and screened on National Geographic:

  • Wild Abu Dhabi: The turtles of Al Dhafra
  • Zayed’s Antarctic Lights
  • Our Sea. Our Heritage

‘Wild Abu Dhabi: The turtles of Al Dhafra’

Join three scientists from the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi on their journey protecting turtles in the hottest sea in the world, a natural climate change laboratory, the Arabian Gulf, and in the wildest area of Abu Dhabi: Al Dhafra. Meet the two species of endangered sea turtles – the Hawksbill and Green turtles; be introduced to the beautiful Al Dhafra region – home to turtles, dugongs, dolphins and seabirds. Learn about what our scientists are doing to respond to the threats facing them. This documentary will change people’s perceptions of marine biodiversity in the Middle East.

Wild Abu Dhabi - The Turtles of Al Dhafra

Winston Cowie Turtle

Nature Documentary: 41 Minutes.
Premiered: Vox Cinema and National Geographic – Abu Dhabi, 17 February 2021
Finalist Award Winner, New York Festivals TV and Film Awards, 2021
Special Screening at the World Expo 2020, Dubai.
Screened on Etihad Airways and Emirates.

Available online. Click here.


‘Zayed’s Antarctic Lights’

‘Zayed’s Antarctic Lights’ chronicles the adventure of three Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Dr Jane Goodall Ambassadors to Antarctica to learn about climate change from legendary polar explorer Sir Robert Swan. Join ‘Team Zayed’ on the adventure of their lives and find out what this waking giant of climate change – Antarctica – means for the United Arab Emirates and coastal communities all over the world.

Zayed’s Antarctic Lights – New York TV & Film Awards – World Medal Winner

Feature Nature Documentary: 57 Minutes.
Premiered: National Geographic – Abu Dhabi, Earth Day, 2019.
Winner of a World Medal, New York Festivals TV and Film Awards, 2019.
Special Screening at the World Ocean Summit, 2019.
Screened on the World Record Single Use Plastic Free Flight – Etihad Airways.
Currently showing on Etihad Airways.

Available on the National Geographic – Abu Dhabi You Tube channel. Click here.

Zayed’s Antarctic Lights, Antarctica

Zayed’s Antarctic Lights – Solar Lights Show

In addition, following the adventure, Team Zayed completed a speaking tour of Abu Dhabi, presenting at over 10 schools in the Dr Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots network. School students were encouraged to partake in the ClimateForce Challenge where they needed to design and implement a project that would reduce single use plastic and greenhouse gas emissions. The winning schools were invited to a special showing of the documentary at Vox Cinema. 

Zayed’s Antarctic Lights – special screening

Zayeds Antarctic Lights ClimateForce Challenge Winners


Our Sea. Our Heritage

‘Our Sea. Our Heritage’ is the story of the United Arab Emirates fishery – starting 7000 years ago and canvassing the days of the pearl divers; the oil boom; the decline of the fishery over the past 40 years; and the recovery plan of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. The 25-minute documentary captures a selection of emotional interviews with 22 fishermen, out of 300 completed by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi and who tell the story of the UAE fisheries in their own words. The documentary also shares the findings of the UAE Sustainable Fisheries Programme, the most comprehensive boat-based fisheries resources assessment survey of the UAE’s Arabian Gulf waters – 250 days spent at sea. The programme was implemented by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.


Traditional K Inteview. Marawah Island. Credit EAD.

Nature Documentary: 25 Minutes.
Premiered: Abu Dhabi International Boat Show. October 2019.
Available online. Click here.

‘Our Big Blue Backyard’ TVNZ and NHNZ documentary series

In 2013 I had the pleasure of being the Diving Supervisor for the North Island shoots of the ground-breaking, blue chip natural history documentary series, ‘Our Big Blue Backyard.’

Commissioned by TVNZ and produced by NHNZ, the six-part series on New Zealand’s ocean environment and sea creatures, has been described as being “almost like Coronation St under the sea”.

“Our Big Blue Backyard reveals the stories of the numerous creatures lurking beneath the surface in locations ranging from New Zealand orcas’ home ranges in Northland Harbour down to the white shark feeding grounds surrounding Stewart Island,” according to executive producer Judith Curran.

The one-hour programmes explore six marine locations around the New Zealand coastline and the creatures which call them home.

“Each location is explored from the perspective of a neighbourhood narrative; from the tiniest barnacles and sea anemones to iconic whales, revealing the daily dramas, challenges and triumphs of those who live in those watery neighbourhoods.”

Our Big Blue Backyard starred on New Zealand television in late 2014 and was widely praised. It is now available on DVD at selected outlets. Grab a copy now!

Filming 'Our Big Blue Backyard'

Filming ‘Our Big Blue Backyard’

Filming 'Our Big Blue Backyard' - Poor Knights, New Zealand

Filming ‘Our Big Blue Backyard’ – Poor Knights, New Zealand

Mystery at Midge Bay – Discovering New Zealand’s oldest shipwreck’

It was a privilege to co-produce and present ahis fascinating New Zealand history documentary with international award winning film maker David Sims.

Entitled ‘Mystery at Midge Bay – Discovering New Zealand’s oldest shipwreck,’ the documentary delves into potential Portuguese and Spanish discoveries of New Zealand that are theorised to predate Captain Cook and Abel Tasman’s discoveries of New Zealand.

Mystery at Midge Bay - Discovering New Zealand's Oldest Shipwreck

On our adventure, we stumble upon New Zealand’s newest, oldest shipwreck, a likely Dutch vessel which has a likely construction date of 1705 and a probable wrecking date of 1730; and we uncover more potential evidence of early Iberian contact.

‘Mystery’ premiered at the Matakana Cinema and The Kumara Box in Dargaville in 2012 and is available for sale on DVD.

Thank you for your feedback that ‘Mystery at Midge Bay – Discovering New Zealand’s oldest shipwreck,’ has changed your view on New Zealand’s discovery history. Please feel free to leave a review in the review section.


Winston Cowie and David Sims - Mystery at Midge Bay Co-producers

Winston Cowie and David Sims – Mystery at Midge Bay Co-producers