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Seaweek 2008: One ocean - it starts with me

NZAEE PRESS RELEASE 26 February 2008

Seaweek 2008

March 2 – 9

One ocean - it starts with me

Kotahi moana -ka timata mai i ahau

Taranaki teenager Paige Hareb, world number two under-20 professional women's surfer, is Seaweek 2008’s ocean ambassador. She will launch the national, week-long event on February 29 at Fort Takapuna on Auckland’s north shore. The launch features “Perils of the Deep Blue Sea”, an innovative interactive theatre experience specially created for Seaweek 2008.

Despite being on the road 10 months of the year chasing her dream of breaking into the elite 17-women World Championship Tour, Paige is determined to help New Zealanders connect with the sea and the creatures that live in it.

“The ocean’s my world and I’ll do everything I can to help protect it. We’re surrounded by water in this country and if we can’t get it together to look after our marine environment, then what hope is there for the rest of the world?

“Everyone needs to get out there and lend a hand and I’m more than willing to challenge my mates and fellow surfers to do something really useful to keep our coast and seas healthy. Surfing is one of our biggest growing youth sports. We can lead the way here and we can make a difference,” says 17-year-old Paige.

“I jumped at the chance to help with Seaweek because looking after my local beach at Oakura has been a big thing my whole life. My family and I have picked up rubbish there for years and this year we’ve also helped build nesting boxes for blue penguins along the Taranaki coast.”

The blue penguin or kororā is Seaweek 2008’s feature creature and, like many of our common coastal animals, seems abundant. These little birds paddling along on the water’s surface are a familiar sight and the clamour and mess of nesting birds beneath their floorboards is a common complaint of seaside residents. But appearances are deceiving. Blue penguin numbers and their range are declining and the Department of Conservation now ranks them as “near threatened”. Rats, ferrets, stoats, cats and dogs are very efficient killers of penguins, blues in particular, because of their size. Coastal fishing and pollution also contribute to the blue’s plight. It’s a story typical of many of our coastal marine animals.

Seaweek’s aim is to raise awareness of our coast and ocean through this annual event and encourage all New Zealanders to help look after their local marine areas all year round. The event is co-ordinated by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE) with support from the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry for the Environment, St Kilda Marine Environment Trust and NZ Geographic (see attached backgrounder). The programme of national activities and public talks can be found on


Seaweek and New Zealand Association for Environmental Education thank the

Department of Conservation

St Kilda Marine Trust

Ministry of Fisheries

Ministry for the Environment

New Zealand Geographic

for their superb support of this year’s event.

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