Articles tagged 'Education'

Celebrating Our Connectedness

The headlines tend to inform us of our rapidly deteriorating marine environment, not reporting on the many things that are so good about the sea. But the ocean is still amazing, she is resilient and provides us with a million and one reasons to love her.


Connecting with our Seas

Seaweek is happening from Saturday 29th February to Sunday 8th March 2020! The theme for Seaweek this year is: Connecting with our Seas, Ko au te moana, ko te moana ko au – I am the sea, the sea is me.

Seaweek is NZAEE’s annual, national flagship event. This year NZAEE has partnered with Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC) to deliver Seaweek. Through this collaborative effort the team at MERC are excited to engage with more people across the nation through their connection with the sea! Sir Peter Blake MERC was founded in 1990 and their mission is to provide life-changing marine environmental education and outdoor experiences for young New Zealanders. They feel that connection is an important thing to emphasize, particularly as these diverse but inextricable connections of our lives on land and life in the ocean support us.

Seaweek is the perfect opportunity to connect with the sea and NZAEE & MERC encourage you to take the opportunity to celebrate and learn more about our marine environment by taking part in an event or initiative near you. Events and activities are planned across the country – from art competitions, beach cleans, and coastal walks to guided snorkelling events, there is something for everyone! Keep an eye on the Seaweek website, Facebook page and Instagram to find events near you.

The annual Seaweek Ocean Champion Challenge requires entrants to undertake a specific ‘Ocean Challenge’ to help solve a problem in the marine environment. There are two categories; one for junior entrants under 16 years of age and an open category for all other entries. Entries for this year close 9 February 2020, and voting starts the next day for first, second and third for juniors and seniors – all other entrants still go in the draw to receive awesome prizes! For more details and to enter the Ocean Champion Challenge go to!

Look on the Seaweek website to find event listings for your region, and if you are interested in hosting an event for Seaweek or have any questions about events in your region please contact

Take the opportunity to let Seaweek help you promote your event or share your photos by tagging #Seaweek2020 on social media so they can shine a light on the awesome events and showcase the work you’re doing to protect our oceans.

NZAEE and MERC would like to thank Foundation North and the many generous sponsors who make Seaweek possible through financial support and in-kind donations.

New partnership to aid rodent control

A partnership between Auckland Council, adhesives company Selleys, and peanut butter producers Nut Brothers is deploying 22,000 rat bait blocks and 160kg of peanut butter. The Talon wax blocks will be used in continuing trapping efforts on the Hauraki Gulf Islands and in remote rural areas as part of the Pest Free Auckland Programme:
According to Brett Butland, Auckland Council’s Pest Free Auckland Director, an unusually high seeding led to a wealth of food for native species. This has also fueled high populations of pests such as rats and stoats. These pests pose a serious threat to native wildlife as predator populations build up during the spring and summer months.
“We want to stay ahead of the game and ensure our predator free islands remain that way.”
“We know that rats prefer organic oils – like the ones contained in peanut butter – and they’re more likely to draw the pests to the bait stations. The rat bait and peanut butter work really well together.”

Have your say on improving the health of our waterways

The Ministry for the Environment has launched consultations on improving management of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes: “Action for Healthy Waterways: A Discussion Document on National Direction for our Essential Freshwater”.
As the discussion document notes our fresh water is suffering as a result of human activity, primarily from urban development, agriculture, horticulture and forestry. Urgent action is required to stop an already bad situation getting worse. Proposed action includes: better management of stormwater and wastewater no further loss of wetlands and streams tighter controls to prevent sediment loss from earthworks and urban development farmers and growers understanding and managing environmental risks and following good practice new standards and limits on some farming activities in some regions or catchments.
Beyond those proposals the Government is also working on other parts of its plan for freshwater, including allocation of allowances to discharge nutrients, institutional/oversight arrangements for the freshwater management system, and addressing Māori rights and interests in freshwater.
It is important that you have your say on these landmark reforms. Submissions will be accepted until 31 October 2019.

World Heritage Site status offers protection to native birds

The Government made its intention clear with the announcement to protect a flight path of a species of native birds who frequent the Thames coast before flying to the Arctic.

The announcement, which was made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, signals that the Yellow Sea is now classified as a World Heritage site.

The Red Knots and Godwits fly from the Firth of Thames to their breeding ground every year which is a 12,000km journey.

Red knots breed in Siberia, while the godwits breed in Alaska. Both the red knots and godwits land at wetlands in China to refuel, before flying on to their breeding sites.

However, due to the mudflats around the Yellow Sea being destroyed by development, there has been a decline in shorebirds numbers.

“This recognises the importance of retaining mudflats,” Sage said.

“We’ve seen the loss of about two thirds of mudflats in that area, but now China is committing to their protection.

“It’s really great news for godwits and knots and it makes their journey a bit safer.”

The specific sites the birds use will be part of a Yellow Sea World Heritage proposal to be developed by China with support from other partners in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership.

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway for migratory birds extends from Awarua Bay in the south of New Zealand and crosses China on its way to the North Slope in Alaska.

“Equally important is the work being done on this side of the Pacific. The recent acquisition of the Robert Findlay Reserve at Miranda was a significant local contribution to the conservation of migratory shorebird habitat in New Zealand,” Sage said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand was part of an international community that had a duty of care, and also commended the work done by volunteers and supporters of the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre.

“You are creating an environment where the next generation will feel motivated to continue the conservation work that you’re doing, not just here but globally.

“You have my word that when I get the opportunity, I am happy to continue the diplomacy you’ve been undertaking.

“If it’s not to advocate for our people but to also act as guardians and demonstrate kaitiakitanga to the birdlife that call New Zealand part of their migratory routes.”

Centre manager Keith Woodley said the profile of the country’s shorebirds needed to be raised and likened their voyage to humans doubling their weight and running a marathon.

“That’s essentially what these birds are doing,” he said.

“They double their weight and they go on this huge endurance flight. Of course, we couldn’t do it, but they are superbly equipped and adapted to doing it.”

Conservationists come out to show support

The 2019 Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Conference – Making Waves: Protecting and Restoring the Marine Park – saw over 250 participants flock to Auckland’s War Memorial Museum at the end of August. The annual event, which was held on August 27, saw an audience treated to a range of engaging and interactive presentations about the Marine Park which can be viewed here (, but they also had the opportunity to participate in group sessions as a collaborative approach to further shape the Forum’s recently announced Big Goals of at least 20% marine protection and 1000sq kilometre of shellfish restoration.

The Holdaway Awards, which recognise extraordinary contributions to the Marine Park were presented to Betty Whaitiri Williams, former inaugural member of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, and posthumously to Roger Grace, marine biologist who passed away earlier this year.

The Conference also featured a keynote address from the Minister of Conservation at which the Government announced new funding for shellfish restoration (see: and several youth focused elements including a youth panel, virtual reality experience by NZ Geographic and BLAKE, and a view of the future from Young Ocean Explorers. Finally, conference participants worked together on the elements for a potential future vision for the Marine Park.

Ghost fishing removes ocean trash

“In the 1980s I helped my Grandfather sink his old freezer in the harbour. It was a fun outing and a good challenge, afterwards I wondered what might inhabit the new white cave on the seafloor. Now days we all know better and I hate to think what toxic chemicals leaked out of that old machine and poisoned the bay,” anonymous New Zealander

A recent Ghost Fishing New Zealand event was held in Okahu Bay to help clean up the seafloor. The detrimental effects of lost fishing gear and rubbish was documented through video and photography.

Over the last four years, Ghost Fishing New Zealand (GFNZ) has worked diligently in cleaning open water spaces. These divers were inspired by overseas divers and named themselves after the ghost nets lost by commercial fishers that they retrieve. The team often pull tonnes of rubbish up from the deep in just a few hours using lift bags.

A station is set up at the event dedicated to sifting through the collection to extract mobile marine life from the rubbish.

“My job was to photograph the species as they were being removed by volunteers under the supervision of marine biologist Eddie van Halen Howard. Adults and children alike crowded around each piece of trash as it came ashore and Eddie enthusiastically identified and told stories about each animal,” – Shaun Lee

The highlight has to be this rarely seen Porcelain Crab (Petrocheles spinosus). It seems to be the first photograph of its species in the wild, though in this case the habitat had been moved.”

If you would like more information about Ghost Fishing NZ, please visit them here or better yet follow them on Facebook.

The essence of Hauturu captured in newly released book

It was a momentous occasion.

A newly released book captures the significance of Hauturu Little Barrier Island and the ecological identity of this wonderful natural reserve.

Hauturu: History, flora and fauna of Little Barrier Island was launched at the Auckland Museum in September featuring key note speakers including editors Lyn Wade and Dick Veitch, along with The Little Barrier Supporters Trust patron Ruud Kleinpaste.

One of the evening’s highlights were the key insights, examples and experiences from the speakers who spoke about the historical significance of Hauturu and about the future of conservation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Marine protection for the Hauraki Gulf was also noted as a shared vision for many who live, work and thrive on the Gulf.

Representatives of Ngati Whatua Orākei and Ngati Manuhiri also welcomed the crowd of several hundred attendees and highlighted the importance of Hauturu to mana whenua.

This important piece of literature is now available from booksellers nationwide. However, for those who wish to support the work of the Littler Barrier Island (Hauturu) Supporters Trust we encourage you to purchase a copy directly from the Trust.

For more information or to purchase a book, please follow the link below to the Trust’s website.

Call to action as sediment threatens giant Kokopu

Conservationists are calling for continued action amid the increasing impact sediment is having on giant kokopu, one of Auckland’s rarest whitebait species.

The urgency comes from Auckland Council’s Freshwater Senior Regional Adviser Matt Bloxham, who says “Auckland doesn’t appear to have enough giant kokopu stream (source) populations to maintain high recruitment, because oceanic larval stocks are becoming depleted.”

Like other whitebait species, the young of giant kokopu spend time developing in the ocean before returning to adult habitat as whitebait in spring. “As adult populations are lost, we potentially add to this problem by reducing the oceanic larval pool and therefore also recruitment back into adult stream habitat.” Matt adds, “It’s akin to young kiwi folk going off on their OE but never returning home. Fewer young fish come back, the population ages and eventually dies out”.

This sediment issue is implicated in the noted decline of giant kokopu populations nationally and throughout mainland Auckland.

A remnant population at West Hoe Heights in Orewa was lost recently due to unmitigated sediment loss from a housing development into a nearby giant kokopu wetland. The Nukumea population in the neighbouring catchment is now coming under similar pressure.

A recent stocktake of known giant kokopu sites on the mainland found no fish at any of the 25-former giant kokopu sites. A handful of new (mainly island) sites have been found since, but they contain on average fewer than half a dozen fish and in some streams, a solitary fish remains.

However, the discovery of three geographically overlapping giant kokopu ranges on the south-eastern corner of Waiheke Island and another in Waitakere Regional Park increases the prospect of the species enduring in Auckland.

The first population found was in Awaawaroa Wetland in 2014, which resulted in the local community and Council mobilising to restore the population. More recently, there have been populations found in the neighbouring catchment to the east of Awaawaroa, and at Whatipu in the Waitakere Ranges.

However, a third population to the west of the Awaawaroa system, Whakanewha Regional Park, has recently disappeared “we think because of sediment loss from a gravel road higher up the catchment”, says Matt.

It turns out the population found to the east of Awaawaroa is the largest we have left in the region and the juveniles it disgorges into the ocean are likely to bolster the two nearby giant kokopu wetland populations.

“But even the largest population may become compromised if the two smaller populations (Awaawaroa and Whakanewha) are allowed fall away (i.e. it is likely that all 3 populations are underpinned by the same oceanic larval supply).

“While we will have to restock Whakanewha, if we act quickly and seal the sections of road that contribute sediment to Whakanewha, Whatipu and Awaawaroa, we may be able to sustain all three fisheries.”

“Major stochastic storm events of the type we are expecting more of with climate change have the potential to generate considerably more sediment and compromise kokopu populations in these rural and peri-urban environments. We are grappling with that at Awaawaroa, Whakanewha Regional Park, at Whatipu and in and around Orewa, where the species’ exposure to suspended sediment is high, particularly from roading.”

Matt says, “while gravel roads aren’t the only sediment source, they are one of the key sediment contributors in two of the Waiheke wetlands and are putting giant kokopu under particular pressure there”.

Mr Bloxham says “because the gravel on Waiheke has a high clay content, it only adds to the problem. Fine sediment is remobilized with every vehicle movement and stored in loose uncompacted drifts within the road corridor. At Whatipu, Whakanewha and at Awaawaroa, the close proximity of the gravel roads to their respective receiving freshwater environments means there’s very limited opportunity to intercept/settle out the sediment before it reaches the waterway and sealing is really the only option,” he said.

Auckland Council is responding to the issue of sediment loss to waterways from bulk earthworks sites and is working tirelessly to combat every angle of the issue. Matt says, “parallels can be drawn between earthwork sites and unsealed (gravel) roads. However, over their lifetime, dirt roads have the potential to be considerably more impactful as there are no sediment controls and release persists for as long as the roads prevail, whereas bulk earthworks are usually relatively short-term activities.”

Auckland Council aided by Forest and Bird, Conservation Volunteers NZ and the local community are working urgently to address the other threats to the island’s wetland populations, which include habitat loss and predation.

Recreational fishing highlighted in survey

A Fisheries New Zealand national survey of recreational fishing has confirmed the ongoing importance of recreational fishing.

The National Panel Survey – which is conducted every 5 to 6 years – provides a snapshot of recreational fishing activity around the country, says Fisheries New Zealand director of fisheries management, Stuart Anderson.

“This is added to a wide range of other information to help us understand what is happening in our fisheries and inform our decision making over the next few years.

“One of the top-line results was confirmation of the ongoing popularity of recreational fishing. We estimate that 14 percent of the country’s population over the age of 15 years went fishing at least once during 2017-2018.

“We also found that recreational fishers catch a large proportion of key recreational fish species such as snapper, kahawai, blue cod, and kingfish. There’s been little change in the proportion of these fish caught by recreational and commercial fishers since 2012.”

The survey contacted more than 30,000 people and about 7,000 recreational fishers had their fishing outings recorded over a 12-month period.

The final results were confirmed by comparing different surveys conducted by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and the National Research Bureau (NRB).

Other key findings include:

  • About half of all recreational fishing occurs around the north-east coast of the North Island along the coastline from the tip of Northland to East Cape.
  • An estimated almost 2 million fishing trips were taken in 2017-2018.
  • In 2017-2018, recreational fishers caught an estimated 7 million individual finfish and 3.9 million individual shellfish.
  • In the Hauraki Gulf the average recreational snapper catch has seen a lot of fluctuation, almost tripling in the last 30 years, but trending down since the last survey in 2012.
  • The average recreational kahawai catch has more than quadrupled in the Hauraki Gulf.
  • Southland is the only area in the country where recreational fisher numbers appears to be increasing, by about 14%.

View the survey results

John’s perspective

As my time as Chair of the Forum comes to an end, I am proud of our progress and encouraged by what I see out there in our communities around the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. There is now widespread commitment to environmental restoration and protection of the Gulf, such as the massive efforts being put into pest eradication, weed control and replanting on dozens of the islands in its waters. Almost all but the two largest islands are now pest free, providing a haven for one of the richest sea and land bird regions in the world. “Pest Free Waiheke”, now underway, will add to this improving picture and is a good example of funding for a community project by a consortium of local and central government and private funders.

I believe the many Trusts devoted to restoring the natural environment on Gulf islands should consciously add attention to the surrounding waters to their objectives. Combined, they could make a major contribution to improving habitats in the surrounding waters. The Neureuter family, owners of the Noises Islands, is showing the way on this by actively seeking to secure meaningful protection around the islands. They are facilitating visits to the Noises by a wide range of people and organisations to demonstrate the opportunities for restoration and are working with iwi, researchers and activists to document the current state of habitats and marine life around the Noises to provide a basis for measuring the effects of protection when it is granted.

There are also many and varied shellfish and marine habitat restoration projects being undertaken but these are as yet small in scale. Over the past year I have attended many meetings of organisations committed to these efforts and have been in awe of the commitment and persistence of their members. Their efforts need to be bolstered financially. There is a big opportunity here for philanthropists to fund community efforts, supported by enthusiastic academics and professional environmental organisations. My personal hope is for a philanthropic contribution of $5 million per year for 20 years to shellfish-bed restoration.

Meanwhile, regional and district councils in the Gulf’s catchments are showing increasing commitment to improving the state of the Gulf through efforts to clean up the waters and waste materials flowing into it and, more recently, cleaning up or strengthening the shoreline. Many of the land-based activities have the active support of, or are being led by, the Department of Conservation.

Many organisations and individuals involved in working for restoration of the Gulf have been further energised by the adoption of the Forum’s two “Big Goals”. This is very gratifying. And timely. These goals are focused on restoring marine habitats to enable marine life to regain its ability to restore the kind of abundance it used to have. Marine habitat restoration work has had less attention compared to land based, “in view”, activities and needs a big spur going forward.

The establishment of the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari Marine Spatial Plan completed in May 2017 should ensure there is more attention given to the recommendations in that Plan by central government. In due course, resulting actions by central government will complement the work already being undertaken by regional and local government in response to that report. Fisheries NZ is already beginning to commit to the improvements sorely needed and I trust they will begin to be active in facilitating strategic protection areas, reducing the impact of habitat destroying fishing methods, and managing fish stock levels more proactively in the Gulf than has been evident over the past 3-4 decades.

The Sea Change report reminded us that the many iwi with a direct connection to the Hauraki Gulf were and are involved in Treaty negotiations and that settlements will enable them to focus on greater involvement in the management of the natural resources of its waters. The full involvement of iwi will be essential if we are to achieve the meaningful protection needed to meet the goals we have set and their aspirations for the Gulf. There is therefore a need for much more active engagement with the relevant iwi. Deputy Chair Moana Tamaariki-Pohe has been working with Te Puni Kōkiri and tangata whenua representatives who are members of the Forum to improve this interaction and it forms a major part of our recently adopted Communications Strategy. In that context, we will ensure the next State of the Environment Report from the Forum, due to be released on its 20th anniversary on 27 February 2020, will systematically incorporate the Te Ao Māori perspective throughout.

All that said, as I looked over the key achievements of the Forum since its inception in this year’s annual report, I note that the aspirations expressed for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act in the year 2000 still fall a long way short of what’s needed. There are lots of good reasons for this and I have no wish to imply criticism of any individual or organisation involved in the Forum or the Gulf. I merely note that we must make the most of the quite significant new opportunities coming up in the next few years, such as the prospective commitment from central government to the Sea Change recommendations; the Americas Cup defence; Te Matatini in 2021, and so on. Through these, we can highlight the need for more and more effective action to restore the fantastic taonga that is Tīkapa Moana in a reasonable timeframe.

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.