New Zealand

Expeditions:New Zealand Expedition Team

The New Zealand Expedition Team and Scientists

The Cousteau team has been on expeditions almost continuously for the past sixty years. Team members have come and gone and many have come back continuously for the next adventure. This list represents those team members who have been a part of the past, the present and may well be a part of future expeditions.

Explorer, environmentalist, educator, film producer---for more than four decades Jean-Michel Cousteau has communicated to people of all nations and generations his love and concern for our water planet. The son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel founded Ocean Futures Society in 1999 to carry on this pioneering work and to honor his heritage.
Jean-Michel serves as an impassioned diplomat for the environment, reaching out to the public through a variety of media, producing over 75 films, receiving Emmy awards, the Peabody Award, the 7 d'Or, and the Cable Ace Award, and authoring hundreds of articles and several books. Jean-Michel travels the globe, meeting with leaders and policymakers at the grassroots level and at the highest echelons of government and business, educating young people, documenting stories of change and hope, and lending his reputation and support to energize alliances for positive change.

large_Fabien-Cousteau.pngFABIEN COUSTEAU, TEAM MEMBER
Third-generation ocean explorer, Fabien shares his father’s and grandfather’s love of ocean adventure and protection. Only four years old when he first scuba dived, Fabien has been exploring the aquatic depths and educating others about the global ocean ever since. His latest marine passion is the understanding and protection of sharks, producing a special, Mind of a Demon, which aired on CBS in June 2006. With a team of experts, Fabien built a four-metre, 545-kilogram shark-shaped submarine to enable him to swim among sharks without influencing their behaviour. Fabien played a key role in Return to the Amazon, interviewing experts, assisting in production, diving with the crew and leading a team to document the world’s most dangerous tidal bore. A graduate of Boston University in environmental economics, Fabien lives in New York City.

“From the year 2001 at age 11, until 2007, when I turned 18 and graduated from the program, I worked on a naval ship called the Pride Of Michigan as a U.S. Naval Sea Cadet. I spent every summer training on board out in the Great Lakes, learning all I could about being on the water. While working on the ship, I learned to dive and had the opportunity to do many interesting projects. One was to work with the Ocean Futures dive team on the filming of the Thunder Bay portion of the PBS TV documentary called Americas Underwater Treasures. After that experience, I was offered a job working at OFS. Upon graduation from high school in 2007, I moved out to California to pursue my dreams and career as a diver.”

Matt graduated from California State University Monterey Bay in 1999 with a degree in earth system sciences and policy. As an original expedition member for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s six-part Ocean Adventures PBS series, Matt’s duties have encompassed research, still photography, second unit camera operation, underwater lighting and marine operations. Currently he is staff cinematographer and in charge of diving operations for Ocean Futures Society.

“I spent a lot of time at the beach when I was growing up. My family would vacation at the shore and I would spend my summers playing in the sand and waves with my brothers. I believe this fostered in me a deep appreciation and wonder for the ocean and all that it holds. I have always been captivated by the unknown mystery, and romanticism of the sea. Growing up I knew that my life would be connected to the sea in some way, so I studied marine biology in college and after graduating I worked in the field for several years researching whales. I soon became more interested in conveying to the public the message that the science was discovering through the beauty of photography and documentary films and what better way to work toward that goal than to work with Jean-Michel Cousteau.”
Since joining the Ocean Futures team Brian has worked as a production assistant on “America’s Underwater Treasures”, “Return to the Amazon”, “Sea Ghosts”, and “Call of the Killer Whale” as well as performing assistant camera duties and 2nd camera filming for “Call of the Killer Whale”.

Holly is a marine biologist with a degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and has been diving around the world with Jean-Michel Cousteau for over a decade. Holly is apart of the expedition team, serving as a key liaison between the expedition team and scientists and is responsible for confirming the factual accuracy of the content of Ocean Futures Society documentaries. Also a marine educator, Holly has educated thousands of children and adults about the wonders and fragility of the marine environment and the importance to protect them for future generations. Overlooking the Pacific, Holly and her 4 year old son, make their home in Summerland California.

Santee has worked side by side with both Jean-Michel Cousteau and Jacques Cousteau for over three decades. Assuming diverse duties as expedition leader and production manager, he coordinates everything from diving expeditions to film logistics. An underwater photographer for books and magazines, he has also worked on over 26 television documentaries. In addition to acting as the team's medical officer, Santee is also responsible for training the Ocean Futures team on advanced technical dive procedures and working with state-of-the-art closed circuit rebreathers. Santee makes his home in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife Hilary and son Edward.

Dr. Ingrid Visser was born in 1966 in Wellington to Dutch immigrant parents. Ingrid's love affair with the sea began very early -- the family sailed around the world on a 57 foot yacht (steel ketch), and lived on the boat for four and half years, covering 52 thousand nautical miles.
Arriving back to New Zealand, Ingrid trained at Massey University as a vet before transferring departments and completed her first degree in Zoology. She started her Masters at Massey, and then transferred to Auckland to complete the degree in Marine Biology. She then did 8 years for her PhD on Orcas (also known as killer whales) in New Zealand.
She is totally obsessed with Orcas, and has worked with the New Zealand Orcas for over ten years. The Orcas Project was founded by Ingrid in 1992, the first research project dedicated to Orcas in the South Pacific. Originally, research was carried out only in New Zealand waters, however the project is working in association with other researchers to expand into other areas. Adopt an Orca was founded in 1998 by Ingrid, the first whale or dolphin adoption program in Australasia. It was set up to facilitate educating the public about these amazing animals and to help raise funds to promote Orca research. Shortly after she founded the Antarctic Killer Whale Identification Catalogue (AKWIC). AKWIC is the first collaborative photo identification project for Orcas in Antarctic waters. In 2007, Ingrid's semi-autobiographical book, Swimming with Orca came out to excellent reviews around the world.

As staff still photographer for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Adventures PBS series, Carrie was the first woman to dive Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary on a closed-circuit rebreather and to work with Jean-Michel as both a topside and underwater camera operator. She is also the only expedition member to travel the entire length of the Amazon from the Andes to the Atlantic for Return to the Amazon. Her degrees in French, political science and fine arts from Wittenberg University in Ohio and advanced studies at the Université Rennes 2 in France led to studies at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. Carrie was the photographer and photo editor for Jean-Michel’s award-winning, limited-edition book America’s Underwater Treasures, and her images have been published in DIVER, Worth, Sublime, Santa Barbara Magazine, Outside, Men’s Journal, Outdoor Enthusiast, Reader’s Digest, SAVEUR and Discover, as well as various international magazines.

Westgate records, mixes and engineers sounds from our world and prepares them for film. With more than 40 years experience, he is truly an expert in sound. Mike's work has enlivened more than 15 feature films and 60 documentaries. One of the challenges Mike encountered while working with the Ocean Adventures team was identifying individual seabird calls. Capturing high-quality recordings and matching them both to the appropriate species and to the appropriate behavior required patience and collaboration with colleagues. Mike hasn't always worked on ocean expeditions. He got his start at fashion shows and sound and light performances for tourists. But now, having worked on productions with both Jacques and Jean-Michel Cousteau, he has found his sea legs.