Biography - Wade Doak
Initially a language teacher with a passion for diving, in 1969 Wade Doak found a stash of coins in a shipwreck. Treasure salvage allowed him to devote himself to studying and photographing marine life, filmmaking and writing. Since so many of his friends were diving scientists, language skills enabled him to act as translator from academic to lay language. He has always tried to enthuse people about the ocean by documenting it vividly and conveying the passions divers feel in exploring the blue planet his scuba generation pioneered, flying under the sea.
Wade Doak was born in Canterbury in 1940. His early diving adventures prompted him to write The Elingamite & its Treasure,1969. Thereafter he concentrated on underwater exploration, observing marine life and recording it in photographs. Four books resulted, Beneath New Zealand Seas, Fishes of New Zealand Region, The Cliff Dwellers and Wade Doak's World of N.Z. Fishes.
In 1975 Wade Doak first encountered dolphins. With gestural language one dolphin taught him a new manoeuvre. When he copied, six dolphins reinforced by repeating it in unison. Then he and his diving wife Jan, through their Project Interlock, sought to know the capacities of ocean mind and to grasp what sort of relationship cetaceans seek with humans. Their Project Interlock newsletters and four cetacean encounter books, including Dolphin Dolphin and Encounters with Whales & Dolphins, began a global feedback process, networking experiences of people worldwide.
He has been on three major South Seas underwater and anthropological research expeditions, described in his books Sharks & Other Ancestors, Islands of Survival and Gaia Calls. In these he went from a study of shark behaviour to the lives of people who worship spirit sharks.
In 1984 Wade Doak produced his first historical study, The Burning of the Boyd, a saga of culture clash in early New Zealand, along with his first autobiography, Ocean Planet.
During all his diving life the social lives of fishes have fascinated him. In 1990 he made films for TVNZ on this subject: Masters of Inner Space and City Under the Sea.
In 1995 Wade Doak began working on the T.V. series Deep Blue, a major underwater expedition from subantarctic to tropics with wife Jan and son Brady, underwater cameraman. The diving Doaks sailed on a long voyage to the remote atoll of Ontong Java where a documentary was made, updating their 1975 visit and film there. Wade then wrote Deep Blue, story of the series.
For children he wrote I Am a Fish about the lives of reef fish. Ten more children books ensued.
In recent years mangrove studies led the amphibious Doaks ashore to a slew of new writings on the terrestrial wildlife around them: Bringing back the Birdsong. Then a case study of local history and natural history: Ngunguru; and the wilderness of subtropical Northland: Riches of the North. Lastly: Poor Knights, on his explorations of that beloved Marine Reserve and a revised diving history: Waterbiography, Ocean Planet Revisited.
(Wade Doak has had four of his books published overseas: one in France and three in the USA.) http://wadedoak.blogspot.com/