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Seaweek shows kids they can make a difference

rsz ocean at napier port sanctuary

Ocean the recovered penguin, shortly after finishing her moult, at Napier Port’s penguin sanctuary.

The story of a young kororā/little penguin’s rescue has provided great inspiration for this year’s Seaweek roadshow in Hawke’s Bay.

Every year the National Aquarium of New Zealand education team put together a free, interactive, thought-provoking 30-minute show for children, highlighting important messages about conservation and the roles they can play in helping the natural environment.

The penguin, named Ocean, was found by a member of the public at Ocean Beach last year, injured and dehydrated. National Aquarium staff worked with Wildbase Hospital at Massey University, Palmerston North, and Napier Port.

Once she had recovered from surgery and completed her annual moult, she was transferred to a nesting box at the Port’s sanctuary to allow her to rest as much as she wanted and return to the wild when she was ready.

It has been a wonderful collaboration between organisations intent on doing what they can for nature, says Seaweek regional coordinator, National Aquarium Education Manager Amy Stevens.
Ocean was almost certainly attacked by a land animal, and by sharing her story it makes people think about the reasons why dogs should be on leashes in certain places, or why it’s a good idea for cat owners to keep their felines indoors at night.

The team also touches on the effect of pollution and plastics, and they know that the children are highly likely to share what they have learned with their families.
“Children are the key to change. It’s important for them to understand the effect we as humans are having, and that they can have an impact. Ocean’s story shows that you only need one person to make a difference, and anyone can make a difference.”

The National Aquarium is an official supporter of Seaweek, New Zealand’s national, annual celebration of the sea.

There are still some spaces available for the National Aquarium roadshow, running 3-11 March. To register, email

The theme for 2021 is Toi Moana, Tio Tangata – Connecting with our Seas, and Hawke’s Bay’s line-up of events provide plenty of opportunities to do. They include:

What’s my Waka?
CAN Seaweek Driftwood Sculpture competition & exhibition, entries ($5 each) close 4 March, exhibition 5-18 March, Creative Arts Napier, Byron St.
Make your own miniature waka from driftwood and/or found materials. Awesome prizes available. All entries will be displayed, open to all ages, entry forms available from front desk. Winner(s) announced 19 March.
Nature’s Little Explorers
10.30-11.30am Mondays & Wednesdays during term time, starting 8 March, Oceanarium main hall, National Aquarium of NZ
Ocean themed activities, nature play, stories & crafts just for little ones aged 3-5 launch this Seaweek. They will learn about wetlands, coral reefs, Antarctica, all sorts of animals reptiles & sealife.
Cost – part of general admission/free for Friends of Aquarium members.
Movie doco & BYOB (bring your own beanbag) night
5.30-8pm 8 March, National Aquarium. Napier Youth Council event.
Bring your beanbag & your mates from school. Featuring 2040, by award-winning director Damon Gameau, exploring what the future would look like if we embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them into the mainstream. Must be 14+ years to attend or bring a parent/guardian with you.
Free entry, gold coin donation for popcorn, soft drinks available to purchase.
Dive into Books
11-11.45am 9 March, Taradale Library. Napier Libraries event.
Be immersed in an ocean themed story time, including enthralling stories, amazing facts & a chance to look at some natural history artefacts.
No registration required.
Sea Skills & Boating Safety
10am-1pm 13 March, Meeanee Quay & Pandora Pond. A Coastguard, Napier Sea Scouts & HB Canoe Club event.
Citizen scientists wanted! Get involved in this project to help monitor NZ’s marine environment. Pick up your ‘how to’ guide & other essential equipment from your nearest library.

View the full list of events.

12 March 2021

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