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Annual Poor Knights Competition Trip 2018

Marine kaitiaki guardians from the Far North to Otago are rewarded with Poor Knights snorkel experience!

The 17th annual EMR Poor Knights competition trip took place on Friday the 18th 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 29 schools represented from 8 regions, 32 students, 31 parents and 11 supporters participate. Since 2002, a total of 274 schools and 408 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).

On board the vessel ‘Perfect Day’ our snorkel site this year was the stunning Blue Mao Mao arch, named in the top 10 for dive sites around the world by Jacque Cousteau . It did not take long for the EMR students to understand why it’s called Blue Mao Mao arch, the arch teamed with thousands of blue mao mao and the stunning marine biodiversity along the walls makes it a snorkel never to forget! This snorkel site at the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve has 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, as for each student; there is an adult caregiver to accompany them.

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.

Katharine Davis - Teacher - Edgewater College (Auckland) "For Jason and Marley this is a brand new opportunity, they hadn't been as far north as Whangarei, they were pretty blown away by the amount of fishlife and if they can take back that awareness of what all the oceans could be I really think they might start sharing that with their friends and raising the general consciousness amongst our kids at school”

Max Gaddum – Makaraka School (Gisborne): “I loved the snorkelling. The fish that I loved the most was the scorpion fish. I would like to be a marine reserve scientist”

Samara Nicholas – EMR Programme director : “Every year I am blown away by the students, the calibre of their action projects and their passion for the marine environment. I can feel satisfied that the future is in great hands”

Waimarama Tapiata-Bright – Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Nga Mokopuna (Wellington) “Words can’t express how exhilarating and entertaining the Poor Knights was. It was truly a trip to remember”

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.

2018 list of student attendees and schools:

Hurupaki School Kade Cuff
Kamo Intermediate Tyrese Job
Ahipara School Hinetai Punshon
Kaitaia Intermediate Danny Evans
Whananaki School Beau Chillcott
Poroti Hana Thomson
Hurupaki Addison Van Engelen
Raurimu Avenue School Noel McQueen
Matarau Riley Hutchinson
Whau Valley Jacquelene Hauraki
Home Educators Anise Powell
Ruawai Koaria Bristow
Dargaville Intermediate Danielle Norman
Te Kopuru Katie Nelson
Ngataki/Te Hapua Stah'Rosa Poutai
Edgewater College Marley Reneaus Cymeon Lavema
Paerata Braedyn Northcoft
Manurewa High Annalise Wood
Edgewater College Jason Olo
Warkworth Primary Ridley Keeling
Whenuakite School Lily McEwen
Whenuakite School Chloe Burn
Awapuni School Tahurakau Mackey
Makaraka Max Gaddum

Makahu Libby Hopkirk
Auroa Teague Mullin
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna Waimarama Tapiata-Bright
Paekakariki School Frances McLaughlan
St Peter Chanel School Madison Bradley
St Peter Chanel School Finn Campbell
Kings High Alex Petersen-Sharp
Kings High Angus Norton


Watch the video !

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