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Celebrating our Marine Environments – Seaweek 2006

28 February 2006

Celebrating our Unique Marine Environments – Seaweek 2006

Thousands of people across New Zealand will be taking to the beaches this week to celebrate Seaweek, which runs from March 5 to 12. The Department of Conservation has organised a range of activities which will encourage people to learn more about their local marine areas.

Over 100 events are scheduled nationwide, from beach clean-ups and albatross adventures to public seminars and sandcastle competitions.

“The sea plays a huge part in the life of New Zealanders, and Seaweek is our chance to learn more about what makes it special. We often take it for granted, but we need to look after it now to protect it for future generations,” says DOC Director General Hugh Logan. “We all need to work together to protect our marine environment, both for ourselves and for our children.”

Whether people want an action-packed day or some quiet contemplation, there is a Seaweek event to cater to all ages, tastes and interests. The public will be able to explore everything from rock pools to historic whaling stations, while school groups will be taking part in a huge range of exciting programmes nationwide.

"New Zealand is a maritime nation. The sea area we are responsible for is 15 times larger than our land area. It contains some of our most remarkable and little known species," Conservation Minister Chris Carter says.

"Seaweek is a terrific opportunity for New Zealanders to enjoy their marine environment, to think about its future, and to consider what we can do to ensure our seas stay healthy and abundant."

Seaweek is an annual national event coordinated by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education. It aims to raise awareness of the coast and ocean and encourages all New Zealanders to help look after their local marine areas.

"Over the years, Seaweek has become a time when New Zealanders not only celebrate the sea, but also get involved in activities that promote the health of our ocean," says Shelly Biswell, national Seaweek coordinator. "We're a country that depends on our ocean for so much, so it's great to see people take time out of their lives to give something back."

The theme this year is One Ocean – Te moana takutahi, highlighting how everyone needs to take responsibility today to ensure a healthy marine environment tomorrow. By taking part in nationwide Seaweek activities, New Zealanders will be able to discover what makes their local marine environments unique. This is will enable them to play an active part in deciding how to protect them in the future.

Hugh Logan says “I’d like to see all New Zealanders at the beach this week. Whether people can spend ten minutes gazing into rock pools or all day taking part in a beach clean-up, it all helps. The better we know our own patch, the more we will be able to protect it for the future.”

For more information, or to find out about events happening across the country, visit www.doc.govt.nz or www.nzaee.org.nz.

ENDS

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