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Samara Nicholas

Samara Nicholas (nee Sutherland) is the Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) director & national coordinator. EMR is an innovative marine education programme that brings school children, youth & community groups face to face with the marine environment. Samara is a founding member of the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust - Nga Maunga ki te Moana.

Samara is a living example that environmental education actually works.  It wasn’t until Samara had a snorkel experience at the proposed Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve site at Motukaroro with her class in 1998, led by Warren Farrelly at Kamo High School that she really understood what conservation was about and from that day she has been hooked. Samara went on to study Environmental Management and eventually completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Studies) at AUT. The Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) idea developed through a shared vision. Samara and Vince Kerr were excited about getting people involved in the ocean. Samara thought back to a time when she went snorkeling at Leigh Marine Reserve with the local primary school, and was buddied up with two young kids. The look on their faces when they saw a huge snapper swimming by inspired Samara to capture that experience in an education programme, and the EMR concept came to life. Samara has been coordinating the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme since its establishment in 2002. Samara was recognised by the Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader awards in 2005.


Samara receiving Emerging Leader Award from Dame Sylvia Cartwright, 2005.
Photo by Chris Coad.

Other Achievements:

Samara’s mission is to inspire and motivate people for the need for better protection of our oceans, through experiential education.