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Spring 2019: A Voyage of Discovery
Interport Lecturer- San Diego to Honolulu

Karina Holden

Growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Karina has spent her life in saltwater. Passionate about protecting nature, she completed a Bachelor of Science at Sydney University and then a Postgraduate degree in Conservation Biology from University of Queensland. Fieldwork led her to work on the Great Barrier Reef, the Simpson Desert and the wet tropics of the Northern Australia.

At the age of 23, Karina joined the Natural History Unit of the ABC where she worked for the next 7 years on blue chip wildlife documentaries as a researcher and eventually as a producer. Next, her spirit of adventure led her to living in Vietnam and Thailand for several years, where she made films in the Asian region for National Geographic and Discovery Channel.

Returning to Australia, Karina continued making documentaries in many genres including wildlife, science and anthropology. This allowed her to travel to remote regions and tell unique stories of nature from tribal perspectives. With her 6 month old son, she spent time living with the Samburu tribe in Northern Kenya and gained a deeper insight into the importance of connection to land.

In 2010, Karina took the job of commissioning editor of science and natural history at ABC TV. She over saw the production of 150 hours of factual content, before the desk job became wearisome and the wilderness called her back.

Her role as Head of Factual at Northern Pictures has allowed her to oversee content creation for broadcast series, as well as director her own films.

In 2017, Karina directed her first theatrical film Blue, which premiered at the United Nations General Assembly before its release in cinemas worldwide. In 2018 she was awarded the Okeanos Prix for services to the Ocean.


Karina has won various awards and nominations for her work including the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle, Asian Television Awards, Japan Prize, New York Festivals, UNAA Human Rights Media Award and the Emmys. She has over 200 articles in print in nature magazines and is a passionate ambassador of conservation work internationally.