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Gus Roxburgh filming in ice cave banner

Alumni story

Gus Roxburgh, an Otago graduate holding a master's degree in Natural Resource Management, is an Emmy-nominated documentary producer based in both Santa Monica and Wanaka.

A documentary writer, director, producer and presenter, Gus is known to New Zealand audiences as the presenter of TVNZ's Wicked Weather, Human Potential and Brain Power. In September, Television One screened his latest documentary series, Wild About New Zealand, shot in New Zealand's stunning national parks.

Gus has worked in the media for over 15 years, originally as an award-winning freelance writer before branching into film and television in the 1990s. His work, encompassing travel, adventure, science and reality television, has premiered at the Sundance, Los Angeles, Deauville and Torino film festivals. He has been shortlisted for the Oscars and his 2007 documentary on LA gangs, Crips and Bloods, received an Emmy nomination for Best Documentary. In 2010, Gus' production Dying For Everest – a film about climber Mark Inglis – was the Documentary Channel's viewers' choice for Best Film.

To accompany the Wild About New Zealand series, Gus has also written a book, to be published by Random House in October, demonstrating his passion for the Wild About New Zealand project and the importance of protecting our national parks and wider New Zealand environment.

His work thus far reflects the interests he pursued in his study at Otago, with a strong bent towards nature and the environment. He also produces work about life in parts of Los Angeles. Following his 2007 documentary on LA gangs, he is now directing and producing a feature documentary on the Drew League, a basketball league in a gang-infested part of LA which, he says, has become a beacon of hope in the community. The league has saved many young men from a life in gangs, providing them with an opportunity through basketball.

A world away from LA, and much closer to the national parks of Wild About New Zealand, Gus' experience of Otago was particularly valuable in terms of the work he has gone on to do.

“My time at Otago studying a diverse range of subjects – from geology to philosophy – certainly helped shape my later work where having a broad range of interests is a definite plus. It also set me up for later graduate studies in natural resource management, which helped inform my strong views on the need to protect our environment.

“And of course, the city is surrounded by mountains and the sea. Otago is a fantastic place for anyone who loves adventure.”

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