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NZAEE Seaweek 2015 ‘Ocean Champion’ Winner Announced

Press Release - for immediate release Wednesday 4 March 2015

NZAEE Seaweek 2015 ‘Ocean Champion’ Winner Announced

NZAEE Seaweek is delighted to announce that the NZAEE Seaweek “Ocean Champion” for 2015 is ocean campaigner, advocate, educator and conservationist Pete Bethune.

The New Zealand Coastal Society (NZCS) is sponsoring the initiative by donating $500 prize money for the winner which was presented by NZCS Deputy Chair Hugh Leersnyder at tonight’s Sea Change - Tai Timu Tai Pari Seaweek Panel Debate event at the Auckland Institute of Technology.

“NZAEE Seaweek and the New Zealand Coastal Society congratulate Pete and all of this year’s nominees for inspiring us all with their work. They are all Ocean Champions and anyone can be one, just by taking care of their local beach. That’s the kind of guardianship that we hope the Ocean Champions programme will inspire in everyone,” Hugh said.

Nominations had flooded in for the 2015 award and voting was incredibly close, but Pete Bethune had just squeeked in as the winner. NZAEE Seaweek National Coordinator Dr Mels Barton was delighted that he had come out on top.

“The Ocean Champion initiative celebrates all those individuals, groups and organizations who work so hard to look after our seas and the marine life that lives in them. It is wonderful to have a winner who advocates and educates so effectively around the world about protecting our oceans and shows leadership by getting out there and doing the hard yards“ she said.

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The theme for NZAEE’s Seaweek 2015 is “Look beneath the surface - Papatai ō roto - Papatai ō raro. The theme highlights how precious this amazing resource is that we call the sea and how much we can learn from studying its wonders.

The collaboration between NZAEE SeaWeek and the NZCS is a partnership that will continue and expand for the benefit of New Zealand’s ocean and coastal communities.

More than 160 events are scheduled around the country during NZAEE Seaweek 2015 from February 28 to March 8, and these are all listed on the NZAEE Seaweek website at



NZAEE Seaweek 2015 is coordinated by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE) and proudly supported by ASB Community Trust, Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries , University of Otago NZ Marine Studies Centre, Auckland Council, DSP Print Group Ltd, New Zealand Coastal Society and many local sponsors.

Pete Bethune is a world record holder, passionate conservationist, activist, author of two successful books, (one written during his time in a Japanese maximum security prison) and most recently, founder of Earthrace Conservation, a marine conservation group. He is currently featured in a new TV series, ‘The Operatives’, which has been shown to audiences in the US and is currently being shown in NZ.

The New Zealand Coastal Society was formed in 1992 to promote and advance knowledge and understanding of the coastal zone. It provides a forum for those with an interest in the coastal zone to communicate amongst themselves and to the public.

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