Articles tagged 'Events'

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.

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.

Dive into Seaweek 2019 from this weekend

Seaweek 2019 kicks off this Saturday, 2 March. There is plenty on offer, with some 200 events, including more than 50 in Auckland, 40 in Wellington and 30 in Hawkes Bay, plus six competitions. So dive in, visit the website and check out the events near you!

National Coordinator Dr Mels Barton is delighted at the response to this year’s Seaweek:

“We are getting more groups organising events every year, and many more repeating events year after year. It’s great to have so many opportunities around the country for families to learn about the amazing marine environment we have in New Zealand and how to protect it.”

The theme of Seaweek this year is “Tiakina o Tātou Mōana – Care for our Seas”.

Voting for the 2019 Senior Seaweek Ocean Champion closes today (Friday 1 March) and the competition is intense. The winner of the award, sponsored by the New Zealand Coastal Society, will be announced at the Bill Ballantine Memorial Lecture: Changing Ecology in a Changing Ocean on Thursday 7 March at the University of Auckland.

Cawthron Institute and Sustainable Seas Science Challenge scientist Heni Unwin will be on tour around the country during Seaweek, telling communities about her marine plastic tracker model at a number of interactive events.

Events in and around the Hauraki Gulf include a Manukau Harbour Clean-up and sand sculpture competition (win a kayak!); snorkel days at Mokohinau, Goat Island and Rotoroa Island; Ocean Oasis film extravaganza at Lopdell House, Waitakere; kayak tours at Okura; glass bottom boat tours at Goat Island; rockpool tour and water sport activities at Sir Peter Blake’s MERC; sailing on Steinlager 2; Westhaven Marina open day and numerous clean-ups at Mission Bay, Eastern Beach, Shakespeare, Maraetai and Waiheke Island.

Schools can learn all about stormwater with the Tread Lightly Drain Game at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s all week.

In the Waikato, there’s an Inner Harbour beach clean; Marine Matters Science Night; Seaweek special at Waikato River (including a clean-up), a Maui Dolphin Day, and Recycled Raft Race.

To coincide with Seaweek, the annual Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Poster is available in today’s New Zealand Herald (Friday 1 March). Beautifully illustrated by Dave Gunson, with graphic design by Shaun Lee, this year’s poster shows you the outline of the 1.2 million hectares of the Marine Park. It’s a lot bigger than most people think!

Seabirds by Edin Whitehead

Seabird Seminar

“Seabirds are masters of the ocean realm. From tiny storm petrels to great albatrosses, from petrels, shearwaters and gannets to shags and penguins, the sea is where they spend most of their lives – feeding, journeying, resting, socialising. But they remain tied to the land because they have to come ashore to breed. And here, they exert a powerful influence. They’re what biologists call keystone species – they dominate ecosystems, shaping them and linking earth and sea.”

These lines celebrate the seabirds of the Hauraki Gulf and were penned by author and broadcaster Alison Balance from RNZ’s Our Changing World.

Her words open a special video presentation commissioned for the upcoming Across All Realms – Sea, Land & Air seminar about the Gulf’s seabirds.

Northern NZ Seabird Trust, along with the NZ Maritime Museum and Foundation North, is hosting the two-day event in central Auckland this weekend on December 1-2.

If you are involved in restoring islands or mainland sites here in the North, are interested in learning more about these very special creatures, their research and conservation – the Across All Realms – Sea, Land & Air seminar is for you.

For the full programme and to book go to:

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

Fishing panel debate

Fisheries and critics fronted to a panel discussion last week on whether a government inquiry was needed to overhaul of the 30-year-old quota management system.

Organised by the Environmental Defence Society, the event also saw the author of recently released book Voices from the Sea, Raewyn Peart explain the findings of her study, which had led to the publication calling for change.

While most panel participants, including Sanford Fisheries head Volker Kuntzsch, agreed work was needed on the inshore fishery, not everyone thought an enquiry was needed to achieve change.

Read more here

Volvo Ocean Race in town

Auckland Viaduct has been transformed into a Race Village for the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover with the Viaduct Events Centre acting as Race HQ.

Eastern Viaduct will host The Volvo Ocean Race Experience, which offers visitors the chance to look through a full size Volvo Ocean 65 boat, learn about the race’s sustainability programme and a compete in grinding.

Te Wero Island is serving as an entertainment hub with a daily programme of events.

The Viaduct Events Centre houses the Boatyard, Race Management and the Media Centre with the moored Volvo Ocean 65’s moored dockside.

Read more here

Best short walks

The Rangitoto summit and Cathedral Cove walks are included in a new Department of Conservation promotion of the country’s best short walks and day hikes. The campaign is designed to get New Zealanders into nature and sits alongside the multi-day Great Walks experiences. Read more here.

Media fracas follows seminar

Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar speaker Chris Gaskin’s light hearted suggestion that New Zealand should replace the kiwi with a seabird as its native symbol has taken off.

The Otago Daily Times followed up by ‘interviewing’ a royal albatross, yellow-eyed penguin, and an ‘Otago shag’ on their views.

Three reasons Dunedin birds should replace kiwi

Meanwhile, the announcement that the Holdaway Award had been presented by Skype to Biz Bell in the Turks and Caicos Islands created the front page lead of the New Zealand Herald: (with no mention of the award). Kiwis brace for impact as Hurricane Irma approaches

A follow up story this week reported that Biz and her team were pitching in to help residents with the clean-up. Kiwi scientists in Caribbean pest eradication project pitching in

Way to go Biz.

Māori maritime history

The story of the boats that supplied Auckland with kauri and fresh produce from the outer Hauraki Gulf islands will be told through an interactive multi-discipline exhibition at the Auckland Maritime Museum.

The scow Ida, and the cutter Te Rangatira, were owned by Tenetahi Pohuehue and Rahui Te Kiri of Pakiri (Ngāti Manuhiri and Ngātiwai) and sailed by their children.

These highly skilled sailors were often competitive and victorious in the Auckland Regatta.

Organiser Olivia Haddon says the focus of the programme is to “tell our tupuna stories to our mokopuna rangatahi as they are our future heroes” through workshops on traditional rope making, navigation and dancing to heritage.

The exhibition and workshops run from Oct 7-21 as part of the Auckland Heritage Festival

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

John’s Perspective

Last week we celebrated our eighth annual Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar with nearly 300 guests at Auckland Museum.

It was – as usual – a wonderful affirmation of the community that cares about the Hauraki Gulf/ Tīkapa Moana/ Te Moananui o Toi.

The theme of seabirds – ngā manu o te moana – enabled us to explore the practical details of conservation effort, as well as to soar high and consider broader relationships with nature.

I was struck by many presentations, among them Dame Anne Salmond’s assertion that our future is inextricably tangled with those of other lifeforms.

This edition of Gulf Journal revisits several talks: Rochelle Constantine’s taking of ‘the pulse of the Gulf’ and Mook Hohneck’s call for an embrace of Te Reo. We acknowledge the leadership of Biz Bell, who has shared the story of the taiko/ black petrel so generously and effectively. We update the quest of Jochen Zaeschmar – a speaker at the 2016 seminar – to find the elusive false killer whale and we recall a notorious centenary for Motuihe Island.

Enjoy these stories and the sustenance that the Gulf provides.

Mayor John Tregidga
Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum.

World First: Hanging Mussel Taura in Ōkahu Bay

Weaving together traditional and aquaculture industry techniques will provide the best of both worlds for rope that will be seeded with mussels to be hung from the pylons of Ōkahu Bay wharf. This taura (rope) is intended to seed larger amounts of mussels into the bay over time by avoiding the sea floor which is covered in sediment. The mussel taura (rope) has been woven by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei weavers who have harvested the harakeke (flax) from their ancestral whenua (land).

With a vision to return the mauri (essence of life) back to the marine environment a 3-year mussel reef restoration programme in Ōkahu Bay has attempted to bring back historical mussel beds. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have committed themselves to returning the whenua (land) and moana (water) back to healthy state for 15 years through their planting of 220,000 trees on the whenua (land). “Protection of our waters and providing a future for our whanau is paramount for us, our daily connection with the moana recognises our ancestors and their kaitiakitanga” (guardianship)” says Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei descendant, Donna Tamaariki.

Tipping points conference

The Environmental Defence Society will consider tipping points in its annual conference to be held in Auckland on 9-10 August. EDS says the conference will address important issues regarding the state of New Zealand’s terrestrial, marine and freshwater biodiversity.

“Recent state of the environment reporting shows New Zealand faces continuing challenges with ecological losses. We will dig deep into these issues and focus on solutions. Being an election year, we will be profiling political party leaders and looking for high quality engagement from all attendees.”

Bill Ballantine

Bill Ballantine lecture

The second Bill Ballantine Memorial Lecture on Thursday March 2 will look at the proposed Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial plan and the prospects for the restoration of horse mussel beds in the Gulf.

Alison Henry and Prof Simon Thrush will lead discussions from 7-8.30 pm in Lecture theatre 4 in the Owen Glenn Building, University of Auckland.

Details 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

Polynesian waka arrival in Auckland

Waka return

Waka racing has returned to the Waitematā.

The inaugural Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival was hosted on Auckland Anniversary weekend in January, reviving a 150 year old tradition.
The programme included competitive inter-tribal races and opportunities for the public to paddle a waka and learn about their cultural significance.

Orakei Water Sports president and Hauraki Gulf Forum member Moana Tamaariki-Pohe said the gathering of waka ama, waka tangata, waka taua and waka hourua represented a dream come true for her father, Ngati Whatua kaumatua Tamaiti Tamaariki.

Read more here

Winter planting opportunities

Plant now

Volunteer Week is June 21-27 with the theme “there is a place for you to volunteer”. Winter tree planting activities are being organised on Gulf islands and in regional parks.”

Motuihe Island recently celebrated planting its 400,000th tree since 2003. Red Boat Ferries run to the island every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month.

National Volunteer Week

Waiheke rubbish crew

Rubbish mountain

Love your Coast Waiheke Island recently posted a video of its 2015 clean-up campaign.

Over 400 students from low decile schools participated with support from Pureology, Auckland Council and Sealink, says Sustainable Coastlines Co Founder and CEO Sam Judd.

Volunteers removed 7,755 litres of litter (equivalent to 155 full rubbish sacks) from island beaches over seven event days.

Love Your Coast Waiheke Island 2015

Takaparawhau restoration

Matariki milestone

Matariki, the Māori New Year, starts this year on June 18 and more than 100 events are planned in Auckland alone.

Ngāti Whātua Orākei invites volunteers to help restore coastal forest in its Ko Te Pukaki project on June 20 at Takaparawhau (Bastion Point). NatureWatch NZ, a monitoring tool to help community groups understand changes in response to restoration projects, will be demonstrated through the day, followed by a hangi.