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NZ's top wildlife pics on show

Museum hosts nation's wildlife inspiration

Last updated 05:00 01/09/2012

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From suburban backyards to busy Auckland streets and the depths of the ocean, the finalists for the NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year found their inspiration from all corners of the country.

More than 3100 photos were entered into the annual competition, before being cut down to the best 39 that are up for the top prize when they go on display at the Auckland Museum today.

The photos vying for the top prize include an aerial view of Rugby World Cup fans, a male sea lion on the Otago Peninsula and the ethereal light of Lake Wakatipu, as well as other snapshots of New Zealand landscapes, creatures and people.

The competition has four categories; Society and Culture, Wildlife, Landscape and Photo Story.  There is also an overall prize, as well as a youth award and, for the first time, an Audience Award, voted for by the public.

The judging panel of professional photographers - Andris Apse, Kim Westerskov, Arno Gasteiger and New Zealand Geographic editor James Frankham - said they were looking for a heart-stopping photo, rather than a perfect one.

"It's the image that makes you draw your breath in that is fundamentally an effective picture," says Frankham.

"It has to be technically proficient, but having said that, it isn't our main focus as judges; we are looking for content, that can surprise and shows a particular creature or social group or event or landscape in a unique light or an original perspective, which is very rare."

The annual competition has been running since 2009, celebrating just what makes up New Zealand.

"I think the pictures are an accurate representation of the diversity of both the New Zealand environment and our social fabric," says Frankham.

"New Zealand is a country now made up of many cultures, and it's also an extremely varied natural environment with high biodiversity. People might be surprised at the wealth and the richness of our culture and environment."

The 39 finalist images are on display at the Auckland Museum from September 1 to October 22 this year.

The winners will be announced at an awards night at the Auckland Museum on October 25.

The Audience Award can be voted for at the exhibition or online

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