“The highlight for me was the amazing snorkelling. The visibility was unbelievable. We saw so many wonderful fish; and the boat trip to and from the island was so much fun!” 13-year-old Oliver Niblock from Dunedin

One of our recognition award recipients, Mountains to Sea, recently took a group of school children and their parents to Poor Knights Island in Northland to experience snorkelling in the stunning marine reserve and to learn firsthand about marine conservation and protection.

More than 30 Students from Kaitaia to Otago were rewarded with this special trip after winning the annual EMR (Experiencing Marine Reserves) competition for their marine action projects that outline ways to address local marine environment sustainability issues.

The students and their parents who travelled from all over the country had a wonderful time. Some had never been snorkeling before or ever been in a plane. They were delighted and inspired by what they saw under the sea.

Summer de Thierry, 12 years, said the trip was ‘life changing’.

“I really had the time of my life by meeting new people, experiencing the sea life and how we connected so well. We all had an inspiring snorkel at Poor Knights Island. It felt like I was in another world. I know that we all had a fantastic time and learnt a lot. It meant a lot to me and my dad to go once-in –a-life time trip.”


Bethanie Luke and Catherine Bulter from St Pius X School in New Plymouth said diving at Poor Knights Island an “amazing experience with loads of unusual sea creatures and an amazing landscape.”

“Our favourite part was snorkeling with a string ray and other fish like blue maomao, sandager’s wrasse and many other interesting creatures.”

Says programme director Samara Nicholas, “The standards of action projects that go beyond the school environment were superb. Students were involved in a variety of projects that address local marine issues such as designing new marine reserve proposals, presentations about dredging to local councils, designing drain filter’s with council, presentations to community groups and community information evenings.”

The EMR programme involves leaning about marine biodiversity in the classroom, snorkeling 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 Tindall Foundation has supported EMR since 2007 and has enabled the EMR programme to expand to eight regions across New Zealand.


Read more on the EMR website: http://www.emr.org.nz/newsdesk_info.php?newsdesk_id=104