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2017 Otago Wildlife Photography Competition winners announced

Info screens OWPC 2017 exhibition

The 2017 Otago Wildlife Photography Exhibition opened at Otago Museum on Saturday 25 March, with a prize-giving recognising Otago’s talented amateur photographers and videographers.

The competition, supported by Jonathan’s Photo Warehouse, Canon, and the Otago Daily Times, received a record number of entries this year, with 2,226 submissions across Animal, Plant, Human Impact on the Environment, Pets, and Night Skies photo categories, as well as the popular Wildlife in Action video category.

The 2017 Otago Wildlife Photographer of the Year is Douglas Thorne with ‘Rifleman perched’, captured in Fiordland. This photo also won the Animal 15 years and over category. Melanie Middlemiss is this year’s Jury Prize winner with her shot ‘Horsing around’ taken in Tarras, Otago.

Visitors to the exhibition, which is open until Sunday 23 July in the Museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery, will not only see the prize-winning images, but also a selection of the best photos and videos from each of the categories. Exhibition visitors are also invited to vote for their favourite image for the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced towards the end of the exhibition.


 Category winners:


SM Animal Over15 Douglas Thorne 1027 3 WINNER

Animal: 15 & over (OVERALL WINNER)

Douglas Thorne, Rifleman perched


SM Animal Under14 Jack Aubin 1693 2 WINNER

Animal: 14 & under

Jack Aubin, Tui on target


SM Human Over15 Helen Mely Whitman Bell 1446 2 WINNER

Human Impact on the Environment: All ages

Helen (Mely) Whitman-Bell, Broken bottle, broken world


SM Pet Under14 Emily Aubin 1499 3 WINNER

Pet: 14 & under

Emily Aubin, Charlie, the tawny Abyssinian


SM Sky Over15 Taichi Nakamura 1650 2 WINNER

Night Skies: 15 & over

Taichi Nakamura, Cabbage tree's view of the stars


SM Sky Under14 Ben Hawke 1620 2 Copy WINNER

Night Skies: 14 & under

Ben Hawke, Stargazing (the night sky as it should be)


SM Plant Over15 Lorraine Adams 1507 3 WINNER

Plant: 15 & over

Lorraine Adams, Red poppy


SM Plant Under14 Isaac Steel 1315 0 WINNER

Plant: 14 & under

Isaac Steel, End of life


SM Animal Over15 Melanie Middlemiss 1676 1 JURY

Jury Prize (Animal: 15 & over)

Melanie Middlemiss, Horsing around





Video – Wildlife in Action:    All ages

Megan Drysdale, Oyster catching 101


Highly commended:

Animal: 15 & over 

Craig McKenzie, Manuka beetle

Rebecca Roderique, Leonardo

Animal: 14 & under 

Isaac Steel, Blue dragonfly

Isaac Steel, White-fronted tern with chick

Human Impact on the Environment: All ages 

Anja Gray, Is it safe to come out yet?

Melissa Purnell, Signal Hill fire fight

Pet: 14 & under 

Felix Cruikshank, Willow, our Springer puppy

Emily Aubin, Monty visits the Otago Museum

Night Skies: 15 & over 

Jonathan Gilks, Moonlit inlet and aurora

Ita Daniels, Beauty and the beast

Night Skies: 14 & under 

Grace Anna Patel, The moon

James Gardner, Cable stars

Highly commended Plant:15 & over 

Melissa Purnell, Lily pond

Allan Cox, Gills

Highly commended Plant: 14 & under 

Macauley Hannah, Power vine

Emily Aubin, Blue hydrangea

Video – Wildlife in Action: All ages

Gordon Speed, Kākā - destroyer of trees

Pat Wongpan, Wait for me!