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Seaweek – Kaupapa Moana

Toi moana - Toi tangata  –  Celebrate connecting with our seas

Seaweek – Kaupapa Moana 2024 takes place from 2 – 10 March.


About Seaweek

Seaweek is an annual national week about the sea hosted by the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC). Seaweek is a time for all of us to get to know our ocean, its habitats, characteristics, and inhabitants better. You can get involved in a range of activities, opportunities, competitions, and action to enable your students and wider community to connect with our seas. 

Curriculum connections

NZC Curriculum icon.

Seaweek supports students to develop understanding around the theme of sustainability, which is integral to the vision, principles, and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Seaweek also encourages students to explore the living world strand of the science curriculum, the concepts of place and environment in the social sciences curriculum, and values such as community and participation, and care for the environment. 

Also see page 5 of Te ao tangata | Social Sciences for Big ideas, Contexts and Practices - Interactions change societies and environments.

How can you get involved?

Some ideas for classroom programmes or school-wide activities:

NZ coastline.

Explore kaitiakitanga
Explore the concept of kaitiakitanga with your students and encourage them to think of ways that they can become kaitiaki of local waterways. The following texts from the Instructional Series might be useful sources of information, ideas, and inspiration:

Visit your local beach
Organise a trip to your local beach with your students and whānau. The day could be about connecting with whānau, studying the beach habitat, and/or taking action to improve the physical environment of your beach.

Clean your waterways
Work with your students to organise a local beach or waterway clean up. Think of ways to get the whole school, whānau, and wider community involved. You could contact the Department of Conservation to find out if there is a local conservation project you can assist with.

Wage a war on plastic
Investigate the impact of plastic consumption on the health of our seas and take action to reduce the damage. The School Journal article Plastic-free Challenge explains how a class of New Zealand students took action to combat plastic pollution.

Organise a fundraising initiative to raise funds for an environmental organisation such as Greenpeace, Plastic Oceans, or the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

Māori and Pasifika myths
Read Māori and Pacific legends about the sea to gain an understanding of the sea’s spiritual importance to people of different cultures. The following links might be useful:

Check out Young Ocean Explorers
If you are a primary teacher you might like to register on the Young Ocean Explorers website and share the videos and quizzes about New Zealand’s fascinating underwater world with your students.

Get involved in events 
Visit the events page of the Seaweek website to see if there is a local event that you can get involved in or take part in the LEARNZ Sustainable Seas field trip.

Instructional Series

Another great way to get your students involved in Seaweek is to incorporate it into your reading and writing programme. Tāhūrangi offers a range of texts about the sea, sustainability, and ocean life. 

Sea Science: Connected 2019 Level 2 – Wild Discoveries
This article describes a citizen science project carried out by three schools on Aotea Great Barrier Island. Concerned by the amount of marine debris washing up on their beaches, the students partnered with scientists from the University of Auckland to investigate what was happening and to take action to bring about change.

Under the Sea: Connected 2018 Level 4
This article reports on a survey of a 100-metre long rocky reef located 11 kilometres off the Taranaki coast. Students from local high schools are partnering with divers, biologists, engineers, fishers, and local iwi to discover and record the plants and animals that make the reef their home. The article focuses on the survey methods being used and the different technologies involved in each method.

Seashells, Junior Journal 60, Level 2, 2020
This article provides information about the shells that can be found on New Zealand beaches. It includes intriguing facts and photographs. This article is linked to two other pieces in this journal: “Super Shells”, which describes some ways that people use shells, and “Beach Buddy”, a craft activity.

Across the Sea: School Journal Level 4, November 2019
Ihaka’s first journey across the sea. "Ihaka buried his face in his korowai. It was cold, and they had hours to go. K āmaka said they wouldn’t arrive until sundown, and the sun was still at least two hands above the horizon. His sister leant into the tiller, turning their tiny waka across the wind as she looked to the waves. Ihaka liked watching her sail. She’d been on the water before he could tie his first knot."

Fantastic Penguins: School Journal Level 3, November 2019
Penguins are unlike any other birds on the planet. This visual text straddles the line between personal essay and non-fiction article. The writer uses words and cartoon-style images to provide information about penguins. The information is conveyed in the same distinctive and lively way the writer used in an earlier text about the Subantarctic Islands. It is an appealing approach that makes it easier for the reader to engage with the technical information. 

Useful resources

  • Seaweek website
    Visit the Seaweek website to find information about events, resources, and competitions.
  • Seaweek on Facebook
    Join the Seaweek community on Facebook to find teaching ideas and to keep up to date with what is happening.
  • Marine metre squared
    The NZ Marine Studies Centre, University of Otago, is encouraging everyone to participate in long term monitoring of their marine environment. Individuals, families, schools, and community groups can take part.
  • Education for sustainability
    This package helps teachers engage students in learning about sustainability. It makes connections between the learning areas, vision, principles, values, and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.
  • Figure It Out – Sustainability
    This Level 3 book from the Figure It Out series uses sustainability as a context for learning in science and mathematics and statistics.
  • Meet the Locals
    This TVNZ series follows different local conservation issues and projects including the protection of our beaches and sea life.
  • Understanding kaitiakitanga – Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
    This section of Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand has links and information about kaitiakitanga, a way of managing the environment, based on the traditional Māori world view. It explores the concepts of guardianship, protection, preservation, and sheltering. The page can be viewed in English or te reo Māori.

You might like …

Students set up new homes for penguins at Oakura School
Students from Oakura School have been working with the Department of Conservation to encourage little blue penguins to return to the area to nest.

Updated on: 14 Jan 2022