National | Health

Ngunguru School in the Far North uncovers ocean secrets

A Northland initiative called Hauora Moana is working with a local school to help monitor a reef in the estuary of Tutukākā.  The initiative aims to empower communities and caring for their local marine ecosystems.

Student Reef Taylor says, “It's (reef) really healthy but some places have lots of sedimentation. We need to keep the reef safe so it doesn't get all dirty.”

The Hauora Moana programme is designed to provide communities with a framework for monitoring their marine resources. Today, students from Ngunguru School get that opportunity.

Teacher Loren Hope says, “We're the first school to be working with Hauora o te Moananui and we feel really privileged to be in a position to have this local group up and running. And, working with our kids to develop a relationship with their estuary.”

Student Whare Cullen says, “I saw a fishing line amongst all the seaweed so if we can keep it clean and help the fish to not eat any other rubbish and stuff.”

Glenn Edney from Hauora Moana initially undertook a survey to monitor reef quality in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands and how they manage their coastal areas. These particular places were swamped with industrial fishing, pollution, and climate change.

Mr. Edney says, “Local communities, coastal communities all around the world have had a long tradition of kaitiaki and have very good management systems in place.”

However, he says those systems have been undermined by central government and colonialism.

“This is about reinstalling and reinvigorating traditional management practices. These kids are so engaged at looking after their estuary - Ngunguru estuary. But also the whole Turukaka coast.”

The Hauora Moana is part of Te Wairua O Te Moananui is working closely with local hapu in the development of this initiative.