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Marine Reserves

Welcome to the Marine Reserves field trip for Term 1. This trip is supported by the Ministry of Education/Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga and the Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai in partnership with Air New Zealand. 


Marine reserves, just like national parks, are protected areas along our coastline. They have lots of benefits including keeping the marine ecosystem strong, protecting cultural values, acting as a nursery for fish, and as a place to experience what our seas used to be like before humans arrived. With 44 Marine Reserves in New Zealand there will be one not far from where you live!

The Kāpiti Marine Reserve, sheltered by Kāpiti Island, is famous for its blue moki, kingfish, seals, penguins and dolphins. It was one of New Zealand's first, established in 1992.

This trip is an ideal lead-up to Seaweek where you will see first-hand how 25 years of protection have allowed the undersea world to flourish.

Explore biodiversity above and beneath the waves, including native and endemic species. Go out on a boat and take some great photos and videos underwater. Get to know rangers and scientists who work to help keep the marine reserve full of life.


Your marine reserves journey starts in Wellington. Drive 30k north to Paraparaumu on the Kāpiti Coast and catch a boat out to the marine reserve that includes Kāpiti Island. Created in 1992, Kāpiti Marine Reserve is over 2,000 hectares. It has abundant sea life including blue moki, kingfish, seals and dolphins. It has popular dive spots including the Hole-in-the-Wall underwater archway.

Kāpiti Island is a predator-free island bird sanctuary and one of New Zealand's most accessible nature reserves with rare birds such as kākā, kōkako, takahē and hihi. Research is an ongoing activity, on land and sea.

Field Trip Plan

    Monday 18 February

    Travel day: Join Andrew and the ambassadors as they travel from Kerikeri to Paraparaumu. During the journey, Andrew takes the chance to photograph and talk about some of the interesting features of the trip.

    Tuesday 19 February

    Day 1: Diving into marine reserves - Introduction to Kāpiti marine reserve, the value of marine reserves, and getting beneath the waves!  

    Wednesday 20 February

    Day 2: Delving deeper into habitats - a look at some common marine habitats, and a closer look at citizen science using Marine Metre Squared. 

    Thursday 21 February

    Day 3: People and the marine world - investigating some of the issues for marine environments, plus some ways to connect and contribute to your local marine ecosystem.