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Young Ocean Explorers

Young Ocean Explorers

Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) has been working with Mahurangi year 8 students for over 6 years. The EMR programme at Mahurangi college starts with a marine biodiversity and conservation lesson and learning to snorkel in the pool, then during school camp at Leigh, we snorkel in the non-protected area at Matheson’s Bay and comapre what we see with the fully protected no-take marine reserve at Goat Island. Students then come up with action projects to address marine issues and present these ACTION projects at the very well attended EMR and Waicare community showcase ‘Rivers to Sea’ evening
This is where it all started for Riley Hathaway, for her action project where she interviewed turtle expert Dan Godoy.

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Humpback whale visits Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve

Humpback whale visits Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve

The value of the marine reserves have been illustrated by a rare humpback whale being seen in the Reotahi reserve in Whangarei Harbour feeding on sprats.
Whangarei orca expert Ingrid Visser was delighted to spend about two hours with the whale in the harbour on Sunday, but was disappointed at the behaviour of some “idiot” boaties who breached the rules when they approached the giant marine mammal.
Dr Visser said the whale was just the second humpback seen in Whangarei Harbour in living memory - the last was in October 2010 - and a sign that the Reotahi reserve was working by having more marine life around it to then attract larger marine life.

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Akaroa Marine Reserve Opening

Akaroa Marine Reserve Opening

Sunday the 8th June,  World Oceans Day, was a very appropriate date for the formal opening of the Akaroa Marine Reserve.  Twenty years is a long time to consult, develop, apply and campaign for a marine reserve so it was a very happy day for the Akaroa community to finally see the reserve come into existence.
The Akaroa Marine Reserve is 512ha and covers the south-eastern area of Akaroa Harbour and extends eastwards towards Damons Bay.  The coastal scenery adjacent to the marine reserve is spectacular and the 275m Dan Rogers bluff dominates the landscape. 

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Marine reserves proposed for the Bay of Islands

Marine reserves proposed for the Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands community group Fish Forever has published a community consultation document that proposes the protection of 10% of the enclosed waters of the Bay of Islands with no-take marine reserves.

Two potential marine reserve sites are put forward and Fish Forever intends to generate constructive public discussion around these sites. An online submission form is available to assist this process and the public is urged to participate by visiting

The potential sites, named the Waewaetorea Reserve and the Maunganui Reserve, are the outcome of five years consultation, which included a public survey that gave the community an opportunity to suggest where reserves should be located in the Bay of Islands. The areas that are proposed were top choices both from the popular and scientific perspectives. They cover 6.3% of the Bay of Islands waters.

The proposition is that these areas become fully no- take reserves with generational review (25 years).

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National wananga a huge success!

National wananga a huge success!

The national freshwater and marine education conference-wananga was held this year on the Kuratini Marae at Massey University in Wellington (26– 28th April).  The conference is an annual event that showcases current and up and coming freshwater and marine action initiatives, with 46 participants this year from the Far North to Dunedin.  The theme this year was ‘communicating science for marine and freshwater action!’

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