National Sea Week was last week, March 2 – 10 and hundreds of Taranaki locals celebrated our moana (ocean) by attending various events held over the week.
The week began with a Ngāmotu Beach Community Snorkel Event hosted by national marine conservation education programme, Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR). Over 50 people attended the third and final community snorkel day, part of the 300-plus people who attended Sea Week Events.
Other Sea Week celebrations included a beach clean hosted by Taranaki Conservationists, a sea-themed Crackerjack pre-school reading session at Puke Ariki, an Author Reading by Neville Peat, author of The Invading Sea, the Hāwera Pool Snorkel Trail and a Project Hotspot Citizen Science Workshop. Many Taranaki schools also celebrated with their own beach cleans and other conservation-related activities.
For the first time, EMR brought their snorkel programme down to South Taranaki with their Hāwera Pool Snorkel Trail where over 30 participants of all ages attended.
Karen Pratt, a volunteer who assisted with the event, was pleased with the results.
"A number of kids were delighted when they were able to have a second go at the at the marine trail. There were two five year olds who thrived on the experience and made incredible progress."
EMR Taranaki Coordinator Elvisa Van Der Leden was so blown away with the positive feedback on the event's Facebook page that she hopes to bring it down to Hāwera again soon.
EMR is working with Whanuakura School in Pātea, Puketapu School, Mimi school and Highlands Intermediate this year.
Students will research marine reserves, implement action projects to raise awareness about marine conservation and experience snorkelling in and outside a marine reserve to compare differences.