Mountains to Sea

I was lucky to attend the recent Mountains to Sea Wānanga held at Waimanoni Marae, in the Far North, NZ. This year’s theme was He Wai Rangatira.

The annual conference was run by the Northland-based Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust (MTSCT), a charitable umbrella and support organisation for the Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) marine education and Whitebait Connection (WBC) freshwater education programmes. These organisations work in both education and action for freshwater and marine sustainability in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

A wide range of people attended, and it was both inspiring and educational to learn about some of the many wonderful environmental projects people are involved with around NZ and beyond.

Many of the projects work with our schools and communities; educating, inspiring, and opening people up to grass roots conservation opportunities, experiences and volunteering.

Things like riparian planting, habitat restoration, water monitoring, wildlife conservation and research, marine & freshwater education, marine reserve management, litter clean-ups and monitoring (land/rivers to the ocean) and so many more…

Presenters ranged from the kaitiaki from local iwi (eg Ngai Takoto, Ngati Kahu, Te Rarawa), researchers, marine biologists, sustainable community capacity builders, kids involved with conservation projects, and so many more, from around NZ and even some travelling to the event from overseas.

Field trips included visits to a unique dune lake restoration site and snorkelling in the wonderful Maitai (Matai) Bay marine reserve (initiated by Ngati Kahu via a Rahui, rather than the usual formal processes). – Jo Armstrong

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