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  Seaweek 1999 New Zealand    

Theme: Nga Taonga a Tangaroacea
'Treasures of our Coast'

Understanding the theme

Seaweek NZ is organised by the Marine Education Society of Aotearoa Inc. It is an annual event celebrated every 3rd week in March since 1992. MESA NZ's vision is to create an awareness and knowledge of the marine environment so that all New Zealanders take personal responsibility for their interactions with it.

MESA NZ and Australia have developed a strong link, through support and sharing of experience, skills and resources.

Kia Aroha - be loving

Kia Aroha - be loving
Be loving to our world
Kia Hiwa Ra - be alert
Be alert about what's happening to our home
Kia Tupato - be cautious
Be cautious about what you do
Kia Manawa Nui - be of great heart
Be of great heart to the endangered species
Be all of these things and it will make
the world a safer place to live in
It will be safer if we do it now
Kia Ngawari - be gentle
Be gentle with our world

Nathalie Condon, 13,
Manning Intermediate School


The New Zealand coastal environment is diverse. It is characterised by features such as long ocean beaches, exposed cliffs, bays, drowned valleys and numerous islands of varying sizes. Beneath the waves can be found a diversity of marine habitats such as kelp forests, sponge 'gardens', shellfish 'beds', canyons, coral 'beds' and all its fish and marine inhabitants. There is still much to be learnt about the coastal environment. Every year an average of 30 to 50 new species of fish are discovered.

It is important for all New Zealanders to ensure their natural heritage is protected now and into the future for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone. Overuse, exploration and apathy cause widespread damage and minimisation of examples of what life in the coastal water used to be like before humans arrived. Establishing marine and island reserves is becoming increasingly urgent and vital in the survival of native species and Offshore Islands - 'Treasure Islands'.

New Zealand comprises, in addition to the two main North and South Islands, just under 700 offshore Islands. The arrival of human settlers from Polynesia some 1000 years ago proved to become the beginning of the end for many plant and animal species. Offshore Islands offer hope for the survival of endangered wildlife. On the mainland competition with predators and loss of habitat has made survival impossible for many species, but on offshore Islands it is possible to control, monitor and protect these species.

Exploring the theme - event ideas

'There's more to the sea than we can see'
- A book of poems and short stories


A collection of poems and short stories published in a simple booklet and sold to raise money to establish a seal and bird rehabilitation centre in Christchurch.


The poems and stories were written by Canterbury school students.


Dolphins are graceful, Dolphins are playful
Especially in the day
I love them they are my friends

Jamie-Lee Posa,
Kaikoura Primary School


The project was organised by the Seaweek '99 Coordinator with support from the Canterbury Schools, Teachers and students, Canterbury Regional Council, Collective Enterprises and the Department of Conservation


The booklet holds the thoughts of some of the young Cantabrian writers. They shared their feelings to inspire others to think about the 'Treasures of the Coast". While much of the writing showed appreciation for the sea and its many treasures, some expressed concern for its future.

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Understanding the theme

Exploring the theme - event ideas

Extending the theme - classroom activities

Personal Action

Further Resources

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