Marine kaitiaki guardians from the Far North to Otago are rewarded with Poor Knights snorkel experience.
Images by Darryl Torckler
The 16th annual EMR Poor Knights competition trip took place on Friday the 26th May. The trip was organised by Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) and made up of representative students from each school that participates in the programme from Northland and Auckland, as well as 2 representatives from the other 6 regions EMR is operating including Taranaki, Coromandel, Gisborne, Wellington, Nelson and Otago.
The competition trip is sponsored by Dive! Tutukaka and the Bobby Stafford-Bush Foundation, the trip started in 2002 with the support of Dive Tutukaka with just three students from three Northland schools, this year we had another 22 schools represented from 8 regions, 29 students, 28 parents and 11 supporters participate. Since 2002, a total of 245 schools and 376 students have participated in this trip. The participation of EMR representative students from the regions is thanks to the Bobby Stafford-Bush Foundation (including flights, transfers, accommodation and charter for the parents).
Students were selected based on their action projects undertaken and enthusiasm they show when studying & experiencing the marine environment. The EMR programme involves leaning about marine biodiversity in the classroom, snorkelling in the pool, and investigating the local marine environment before experiencing a marine reserve and taking action with regards to marine conservation in their communities. The national expansion of EMR in the regions is supported by the Tindall Foundation and the DOC Community Fund.
“I’m so impressed with the amazing action projects and passion these students have to protect the marine environment for future generations. Students were involved in a variety of projects that address local marine issues such campaigning council to change from plastic coated to paper parking tickets, storm water projects, and writing letters to members of parliament” says programme director Samara Nicholas.
“Otago participants are campaigning for an accessible marine reserve” says Samara “This amazing trip has created many Kaitiaki tangaroa for all the future. I know they will feel empowered to support marine conservation” Karen Mclean (Taranaki parent)
In addition to the opportunity to represent the school or region for the EMR ACTION prize, we offered the Bobby Stafford-Bush – EMR Ocean Art prize. The Bobby Stafford-Bush Foundation supports this special prize for young kiwis that have experienced the marine environment with EMR and display that passion and experience through art.
On board the vessel ‘Perfect Day’ we snorkelled at the stunning ‘Garden’s at Maroro Bay, part of the Poor Knights Islands that have been protected by no-take status since 1981. This trip is just as special for the adults on board, as it is for the students.