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Marine reserve human chain

A new way to raise awareness of marine conservation

The World first human chain around the world’s first student-driven marine reserve


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The Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) programme, supported by the Department of Conservation, came up with this bold and innovative approach involving over 1000 students, parents, teachers, community members and a helicopter.
The chain was formed on the 16 September 2009 around the landward boundary of the Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve site at Motukaroro to celebrate conservation week and the reserves third anniversary. Over 13 vessels marked the seaward boundary including Ingrid Vissors Orca Research and Dive Tutukaka’s ‘Perfect Day’.

Compliance and community buy in has been a challenge for the new marine reserve site at Motukaroro, one of the event goals was for , students, parents and community members to go home more aware of the reserve and its boundaries and a sense of pride and ownership of their reserve
 The day started with a visit from some dolphins and a seal. The presence of the helicopter created a lot of hype, it did take a few tries to coordinate over 1000 people to do a perfect Mexican wave.

Whananaki School was one of 15 schools that made up the chain. 40 Ngunguru School students had the most unique form of transport, with the journey from Tutukaka to Whangarei Harbour on board Perfect Day. Hundreds of students attended from Kamo High School, the original applicant of this reserve.

This marine reserve conserves unique marine biodiversity for the enjoyment of future generations, it’s  a fantastic education tool and the support for the human chain event shows how interesting and valuable our marine reserves can be. Schools that took part in the chain are encouraged to come back to and snorkel at the site with the EMR marine education programme.
EMR works with schools and communities throughout New Zealand offering first-hand marine experiences and encouraging action for the marine environment.  It' was awesome to have been part of such a massive event that drew attention to the boundaries of the reserve through a colossal amount of community teamwork and spirit
Watch the human chain event on YouTube

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