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Take to the sea this week

2 March 2012

Take to the sea this week

This year’s Seaweek – starting tomorrow – asks a big question: do New Zealanders love our vast ocean resource too much?

Seaweek’s official theme, ’One Ocean – Too Much Love? Turning the Tide, looks at the many uses of the sea around New Zealand, and the challenges of working sustainably with our ocean territory – the fifth-largest in the world.

Seaweek is an annual nationwide event run by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education, and supported by DoC, local authorities and conservation groups – that aims to raise awareness about our coastal and marine environment and inspire all New Zealanders to renew their connections with the sea.

In the Capital, Wellington City Council is coordinating a great week of events to get locals thinking about the ocean on their doorstep, including coastal plant tours by 4WD, snorkelling tours, open days at the Island Bay Marine Education Centre and Victoria University Coastal Ecology Laboratory and concerts at Shorland Park.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, a keen diver and kayaker, is encouraging Wellingtonians to take part in the events and to use the week to appreciate what we have.

“Our Capital city has a breathtaking harbour and a stunning wild coast, providing an abundance of water sports, artistic inspiration and kai moana.”

The City Council’s Natural Environment Portfolio Leader, Helene Ritchie, says the Council has invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the past two decades to restore water quality in the harbour and on the south coast – and Seaweek presents a good opportunity for people to see how far we’ve come.

“Since the Moa Point wastewater treatment plant opened in 1998, the transformation of the south coast has been astounding.

“The sea at Moa Point used to be brown and it used to stink. It was a no-go zone. It’s now healthy and clean – but our work to eliminate sewage and contamination is by no means finished.”

Seaweek kicks off this weekend with a 4WD coastal plant tour (9am–1pm tomorrow, Owhiro Bay Quarry Road car park), free snorkel tours of Island Bay Marine Reserve (10am–3pm Marine Education Centre, Island Bay) and a community beach clean-up at Lyall Bay Beach (10am Sunday, Lyall Bay parade by the playground).

If you want to find out more, pick up a brochure from any Council library or pool, or visit www.wellington.govt.nz

ENDS

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