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Conservation Minister launches Seaweek

2 March 2006

Conservation Minister launches Seaweek

School children will share their marine reserve experiences with the Minister of Conservation Chris Carter at Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World on Sunday 5 March as he launches the start of Seaweek 2006 with the theme ‘One Ocean – Te moana takutahi’.

Mr Carter says that Seaweek is a time for all New Zealanders to celebrate our marine and coastal environment and think about how we can play a part in looking after it.

“We have a vast marine environment that’s home to perhaps 80 percent of our native species, many of which haven’t been discovered yet. All New Zealanders have a stake in protecting the diversity and health of our coast and seas.”

“What better place to remind us of the importance of marine conservation than on Auckland’s waterfront at Kelly Tarlton’s overlooking the sparkling waters and rich marine environment of the Hauraki Gulf.”

Nine students from Waiheke Island and Northland will join the Minister at Kelly Tarlton’s to present their ideas about marine conservation and view the new Stingray Bay exhibit. The children have recently participated in a marine education programme, Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR), which is currently being trialled in the Auckland region.

Department of Conservation education officer Barbara Breen said the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme creates understanding about the marine environment by providing powerful learning experiences in marine reserves.

“Students go snorkelling at Auckland’s oldest marine reserve at Goat Island and compare this with a local unprotected coastal area. They are then encouraged to take action to further marine conservation in their community.”

The Experiencing Marine Reserves programme has been operating in Northland since 2002, where more than 3000 school children have participated in it.

Many events and activities that celebrate the sea are being run around the country for Seaweek (5-13 March). Seaweek is co-ordinated by the New Zealand Environmental Education Association (NZAEE) with the aim of raising awareness of the coast and ocean and encouraging New Zealanders to help look after their local marine areas.

More information about Seaweek and the list of activities for 2006 can be found on the official Seaweek website www.nzaee.org.nz/seaweek or the Seaweek pages on www.doc.govt.nz .

ENDS

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