Articles tagged 'Education'

A previously restored mussel reef near Waiheke Island - Photo by Shaun Lee

Responding to shell fish loss

As reported frequently in the Gulf Journal, shellfish beds are vital to marine ecosystems. They filter and clean the water, stabilise the seafloor, dampen the effects of storm surge, enhance biodiversity, and remove nutrients that run off the land.

This newsroom article by Professor Simon Thrush, Director of the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Auckland, calls for urgent research to inform targeted restoration activities, as well as more coordinated partnerships of current restoration efforts. Professor Thrush urges, however, that scientific knowledge alone will not secure the success – community participation and commitment are critical to ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of restoration.

To get involved locally, contact Revive our Gulf.

Cruise ships urged to dim the lights

In a dramatic incident in the Gulf last year, about 60 Buller’s Shearwaters ended up on the deck of a cruise ship after being attracted by the vessel’s bright lights. Some of the birds died because they were placed in boxes together and became distressed. Regrettably, 33 died and several were injured.

Since then, the Department of Conservation (DOC) has been consulting with international cruise companies and the NZ Cruise Association on how to keep the birds safe. Advice has now been distributed to cruise ships  when they sail into NZ ports.

In advice to ships, DOC urges those on ships to close blinds and curtains on cabin windows, reduce unnecessary exterior lighting, and to try to shield essential external deck lights so they are directed downwards and to reduce light wattage where practical.

Read more here.

Generating ideas for the health of the Gulf

The Faculty of Creative Arts & Industries at the University of Auckland is running a project to garner ideas from Aucklanders who love the Hauraki Gulf. They’re running a series of creative workshops to identify several powerful concepts that in the project’s second phase can be implemented.

The Faculty of Creative Arts & Industry sense that by liberating imagination and coupling that with existing knowledge, they can shift the public psyche from a complaints and ignorance state about the health and wellbeing of the Hauraki Gulf to one of collective creative action.

The project has received funding from the Foundation North GIFT fund. The University team are searching for 100 Aucklanders who love the Hauraki Gulf to participate in surfacing ideas and concepts that have the potential to move the hearts and minds of Aucklanders.

You must be available to attend the launch event on Saturday 6 October, followed by a four-hour workshop on Saturday 27 October.

Interested? Contact Kylie Sealy at

Students star against plastic

Snells Beach school children were stars of a new short film by Young Ocean Explorers Steve Hathaway and daughter Riley as part of the 1+ A Day anti-plastic campaign. With funding from the Hauraki Gulf environmental Innovation Fund (GIFT) run by Foundation North, the marine adventurers hope to inspire youngsters to pickup plastic on the streets and in parks, before it gets into the sea.

Read more here

Islands get Google treatment

Armchair explorers internationally will now able to sample the visual delights of Rangitoto Island and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Google sent a hiker with a packpack loaded up with 15 lenses to the two islands recently, with the resulting 360-degree panaroamic images now loaded onto its Street View site.

The volcanic landscape of Rangitoto and the wildlife sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi are already favourites for overseas visitors to the Gulf, with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) getting onboard with Google for this venture.

Read more here

Looking back

With TV One currently screening a remake of Islands of the Gulf, the Herald recently compiled a list of other archival films that capture the spirit of the life in the Gulf in the past.

See the list here


Auckland Council’s new Safeswim initiative is receiving plenty of attention as Aucklanders get used to receiving real time information on the state of their local beaches.

An iconic Auckland ocean swim is moving locations for the first time in 14 years due to frequent “red readings” at beaches on the city’s North Shore. Organisers of the “King of the Bays” event have moved the swimming races from Milford beach to Devonport.

Spinoff recently created a “cheatsheet” to explain what the new system means.

And marine scientist Andrew Jeffs explains the reasons for a sudden increase in the sewage pollution notices.

Meanwhile, the Waikato Regional Council has re-activated a water quality monitoring programme at seven east coast and two west coast beaches, testing to see whether faecal bacterial levels are within suitable levels for contact recreation, such as swimming and surfing.

The latest results can be found here.

Safer swimming

Auckland Council’s new Safeswim programme is providing real-time information about water safety and quality, together with public health alerts, at 84 of Auckland’s beaches.

In a country first, the upgraded water quality forecasting programme exceeds the requirements of national guidelines and is delivered in partnership with Auckland Regional Public Health and Surf Life Saving Northern Region.

In heavy rain water can find its way into the wastewater network causing overflows and unsafe bathing conditions.

Auckland Council Chief Operating Officer Dean Kimpton says, “Auckland is home to so many incredible beaches, but we know our water quality could be better. We’re committed to changing this, and the council and Watercare will be investing $6 billion over the next 20 years to improve our water infrastructure.”

Read more here

Penguin Boxes

Penguin Boxes win film award

A documentary about community action on Great Barrier Island to help Blue Penguins has won the Outlook for Someday film challenge. Read more and watch the film on

Boil up music video

Fulbright-National Geographic Fellow Abby McBride has created a music video – science documentary mash up. It was filmed using a GoPro-rigged buoy to capture hungry seabirds chasing fish and krill during a day on the Hauraki Gulf with Chris Gaskin. It is set to the music of Darlingside.

Future of farming and fishing

The future of farming and fishing were the subject of insightful discussion at the recent Environmental Defence Society Conference on Tipping Points.

New technologies such as ‘cellular agriculture’ are set to challenge old fashioned farming attitudes and increase the rate of uptake of sustainable practices, explained Dr Rosie Bosworth, a Senior Strategic Planner with ‘Rethink X’. Landcorp’s CEO Steve Carden outlined his vision for the future and the practical proactive approach being taken to adapt.

Sanford CEO Volker Kuntsch, Te Ohu Kaimoana CE Dion Tuuta and WWF head of Campaigns Peter Hardstaff addressed fisheries, their ‘big’ words being Transparency, Respect and Humility.

See video here

Thames scholar

A Waikato Regional Council scholarship has been awarded to Taylor Auld from Thames to assist in completing a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Canterbury University.

Taylor received a number of academic awards at Thames High School and was involved in coastal clean-up initiatives through Scouts.
The $6,000 award is made annually through the council’s Waihou Piako catchment committee to support undergraduate study in the fields of engineering or resource management, particularly river and catchment management.

Read more here

Ocean is the new climate

We have to lift ocean sustainability up to the same level of focus, attention, and action as climate change action, urgently says Author and Sustainability Advisor Alan Atkisson. He notes:

  • There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic garbage floating around in our oceans, and the number is growing exponentially. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish — if we let this trend continue.
  • The oceans have experienced a 25% increase in acidity since we started measuring such things. This puts many kinds of ocean life at risk.
  • Oxygen levels in the entire ocean are down 2% overall, and have declined up to 4% in some places — leading to numerous “dead zones”.
  • The “Living Blue Planet Index”, WWF’s measure of how much life is in the sea, is down 50% since the 1970s.

In June the United Nations convened its first ever Oceans Conference. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”

Read more here

Islands of the Gulf revisited

A classic 1960s book Islands of the Gulf has been reprinted. In the early Sixties Shirley Maddock joined seaplane pilot Captain Fred Ladd to visit isolated island communities, filming New Zealand’s first locally produced documentary series and spawning a book of the same name.
The new 2017 edition has been published to coincide with a remake of Islands of the Gulf, to screen on TV One later this year with Shirley Maddock’s daughter, actress and writer, Elisabeth Easther.

Read more here

Young Ocean Explorer Riley Hathaway

Young Ocean Explorers expands

Young Ocean Explorers will launch a new website on October 5 with over 100 new videos and lots of polls and quizzes. Creator Steve Hathaway says “we’ve designed the site specifically so teachers will want to use it in their classes as a great tool and resource to educate about the marine environment.”

Earlier this year the Hauraki Gulf Forum and Young Ocean Explorers worked together on the Explore the Gulf Hauraki Gulf Marine Park poster series published by the New Zealand Herald.

Steve says the app created to unlocked hidden video content with the posters has been installed nearly 2000 times. The posters were distributed to all schools in New Zealand through the Education Gazette and are incorporated into school visits by Steve and Riley Hathaway.

Steve says the posters, app and interactive website work together to deliver engaging, curriculum relevant learning for schools.

Safeswim gets upgrade

Auckland Council has approved an upgrade of its Safeswim beach water quality monitoring programme. From next summer it will enable accurate forecasting of which of Auckland’s 69 bathing beaches might be unsafe, and when.

The programme upgrade will provide new tools to communicate monitoring results, giving better visibility of water quality issues. Mayor Phil Goff has said the public may be shocked when they see the figures on faecal contamination but “there are solutions.”

Former Blake boat to visit

The French schooner Tara is coming to New Zealand for the first time since the death of Kiwi yachtsman, environmentalist and hero, Sir Peter Blake.

Originally Sir Peter’s yacht Seamaster, Tara will tie up alongside the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre for 10 days in July, associated with an outdoor photographic exhibition, boat tours, and an Auckland Conversations event celebrating ocean leadership.

Read about Tara here

Link to the Facebook event here

Riley Hathaway

New Gulf poster series

A new Explore the Gulf poster series has been produced by the Hauraki Gulf Forum, in partnership with the New Zealand Herald and Young Ocean Explorers.

The posters illustrate species found in the shallow, mid and deeper water environments of the marine park.
They also feature ‘Young Ocean Explorer’ Riley Hathaway and downloading an App will unlock video content about many species on phones and devices.

They appeared with the New Zealand Herald on February 27, 28 and March 1 and extra copies can be requested from

See the posters here

Te Reo App popular

Have trouble pronouncing Māori words?

A new Department of Conservation App, ‘Te kete o Tāmaki Makaurau’, has been designed to help people identify and pronounce the names of popular places, animals, and plants in the Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland region in Te Reo Māori.

The app enjoyed the highest number of downloads in one day and recently sat as the third most downloaded app in New Zealand.

Read more here

Story of the Gulf

Gulf book popular

Raewyn Peart’s book The Story of the Hauraki Gulf, launched in September, has already been reprinted due to popular demand.

It appeared in the Listener’s Best 100 Books of 2016 and in the New Zealand Herald’s Best Books of 2016.

Get it here

Gulf geographic

A talk by NZ Geographic magazine founder Kennedy Warne at a recent Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar has been included in 2017 edition of Tell You What: Great New Zealand Nonfiction. The talk explores Kennedy’s connections to the Gulf.

Watch it here

Get the book here

Kennedy also visited Great Barrier in December, reporting his visit to the black petrel colony and impressions of the island to Nine to Noon’s Kathryn Ryan.

Listen here

Pioneering TV revisited

The ground-breaking Islands of the Gulf TV series made in the 1960s is being remade by daughter of original presenter Shirley Maddock.

Islands of the Gulf was (narrowly) New Zealand’s first, locally-made TV documentary series — written, presented, directed and produced by the country’s first female producer, Shirley Maddock.

Actress, playwright and travel writer Elisabeth Easther follows her mother’s footsteps catching up with people and changes to the Gulf’s islands. The new series will screen in June.

Watch the original series here

Sea Change plan available

A Hauraki Gulf / Tikapa Moana marine spatial plan launched in December after three years work by a stakeholder working group is available on the Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari project website.

The proposed plan contains five pathways designed to create long-term health and wellbeing for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Transitions to high value wild caught and farmed fisheries, the creation of marine reserves areas and scaled up restoration initiatives, setting load limits and mitigation for sediment and nutrients, local-scale coastal management and ambitious public engagement are outlined in the December issue of the Gulf Journal.

Read it here

Story of the Gulf

Story of the Gulf

A new coffee table book on the ecological history of the Hauraki Gulf was launched this month charting its discovery, transformation and potential for restoration.

Author Raewyn Peart travelled widely through the marine park interviewing over sixty people – iwi leaders, those making a living from the Gulf, sailors, fishers and divers, and environmentalists who are all working to preserve and restore its heritage.

Read more here

Do The Right Thing: The 2016 Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar

Do the right thing

The 2016 Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar asks what it takes to Do The Right Thing

  • Can our primary industries reinvent themselves and their relationship with ecosystems?
  • What is people-power unleashing around our islands, reefs and harbours?
  • How can 600 years of indigenous knowledge and culture inform the way?
  • Are fly fishing for kahawai and sailing with whales signs of the times?
  • And where might the government fit in all this?

The Hauraki Gulf Forum has assembled an outstanding line-up of speakers for its seventh annual seminar on Tuesday, September 13 at Auckland Museum.

Book here

Milford Beach

Climate change resource

The New Zealand Coastal Society has published Adapting to the consequences of climate change: Engaging with communities to assist coastal professionals, decision-makers and communities in preparing for sea-level rise and the associated effects of climate change.

Read it here

Blue Voluntours

Wet, fun and good

A new social enterprise has been established to support marine volunteering around Auckland.

Blue Voluntours is dedicated to marine conservation and offers eco tours to marine reserves, sea clean ups, whale and dolphin research and stand up paddle boarding missions with beach clean ups.

“We want to create a sustainable, rewarding experience for tourists and locals alike”, explains the founder of Blue Voluntours, Katja May.

Navigation safety review

A review of coastal navigation safety by Maritime NZ has found that there is a sound framework in place to manage the movement of ships around the New Zealand coast, with procedures in place to assess risk and adjust safety measures if required.

The report singled out two areas of possibly higher risk for vessels transits compared to other locations – the Hauraki Gulf and Colville Channel, and Cook Strait.

“This review does not indicate an immediate risk to vessels or water users in these areas, but we will be working with harbourmasters, pilots, ferry operators, and the coastal shipping industry to look at how risks are managed in these areas, and whether there are any gaps,” Maritime NZ said.

Coastal Navigation Safety Review Report

Revive our Gulf video still

Revival going viral

A new video explaining the Revive our Gulf project’s work to restore mussel reefs is a popular hit with schools and youtube viewers.

The video was directed by designer Shaun Lee, presented by biologist Rebecca Barclay and funded by Auckland Council’s Environmental Initiatives Fund. It has been posted on the Science Learning Hub and currently features on its home page.

Icons of the Gulf poster series

Iconic posters

The sixth series of Hauraki Gulf Marine Park posters featuring ‘Icons of the Gulf’ was published by the New Zealand Herald in February.

The Hauraki Gulf Forum- produced posters feature the Gulf’s ‘treasure islands’, whales and dolphins and the Goat Island marine reserve.

The posters are also distributed to all schools through Auckland Council and Waikato Regional Council education programmes.

View the posters

Read more here

Hathaways take off

Big impact

Steve and Riley Hathaway continue making ripples with their Young Ocean Explorers television initiative. A book and DVD collection from the first series was published in March, with crowd-funded sponsorship enabling distribution to all NZ schools.

A second series is underway, with Bryde’s whales one of the topics being explored in the Hauraki Gulf/Ta¯kapa Moana. The father and 14-year-old daughter combo recently presented their story at the popular TED-X Auckland event.