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Sustainable Seas: essential for NZ`s health and wealth

Sustainable Seas 2020 field trip to Ōhiwa Harbour

This field trip took place on 3-5 March 2020. Feel free anytime to use all the resources such as videosdiary posts & photos, and web conferences that were created during the field trip.

field trip destination - Ōhiwa HarbourIntroduction 

During Seaweek, your students can tackle a major New Zealand problem: the conflict between the many uses of our marine environment.

Aotearoa is an island nation with very close ties to the marine environment. 75% of us live within 10km of the sea. We value the sea for its resources such as fisheries, tourism, oil and gas and shipping. We also value the sea for food, recreation and spiritual well being. Māori have long standing ancestral connections with the sea and the sea is a taonga that we all need to help look after. The challenge is to manage the different uses and values of our seas so that they remain healthy for future generations.

On this field trip you will travel to Ōhiwa Harbour in the Bay of Plenty. Here you will join experts who are developing a special tool to help manage our seas sustainably. This tool is ecosystem-based management (EBM). Your class will explore the development of EBM and how it can be applied in different areas to maintain the health and wealth of our seas.

Meet Shelley the LEARNZ field trip teacher.
Meet Shelley the LEARNZ field trip teacher

Watch the introductory video - on Vimeo.


Ōhiwa Harbour, the jewel of the eastern Bay of Plenty, is a large shallow estuary 11 kilometres east of Whakatāne and 16 kilometres west of Ōpōtiki. Once a busy port it is still one of New Zealand's most unspoiled estuaries. The area has long been a taonga for many people. Its salt-marshes, wetlands and mudflats support a rich variety of wildlife. There are 10 small islands in the harbour and many channels and sandbanks which shift with the tides and seasons. These marine environments are used for many different purposes by many different people making sustainable management a challenge.

Field Trip Plan - Term 1 2020

Monday 2 March

travel day

Travel Day 

Join Shelley and Māia the LEARNZ ambassador as they travel from Dunedin to the Bay of Plenty to begin the Sustainable Seas field trip. Read the diary about the journey.

Tuesday 3 March 

ecosystem connectivity

Ecosystem stressors

Help local students collect sea stars and mussels. Watch the videos to discover more about the role these animals have in the harbour ecosystem. Read the diary to find out about the relationship between sea stars and mussels. Watch the recording of the web conference and read about what Māia the LEARNZ ambassador did today. 


Wednesday 4 March

ecosystem restoration

Ecosystem restoration and taonga species

Get your life jacket on and paddle a kayak out into Ōhiwa Harbour to monitor mussel lines. Watch the videos to explore the use of natural resources and see how Mātauranga Māori can help restore this ecosystem. Read the diary to discover how sea stars have outsmarted scientists. Read an update from Māia the LEARNZ ambassador and watch the recorded web conference.

Thursday 5 March

Monitoring ecosystems

Monitoring ecosystems

Fly a drone and watch the videos to see how drones are used to monitor the local coastline. Read the diary to discover how technology is helping scientists to gain a better understanding of marine ecosystems. Read about Māia the LEARNZ ambassador and watch the recording of today's web conference.

What's New

Monday 2 March Newsletter 3 sent to all enrolled classes. Teachers can now book a web conference to speak to scientists live during the field trip.

Tuesday 11 February

The Sustainable Seas background pages and student activities are now online.

Tuesday 11 February

The 2020 Sustainable Seas field trip website is now online.

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 Sustainable Seas