Auckland Islands explorer follows in ancestor's footsteps

Auckland Islands explorer follows in ancestor's footsteps

A group of scientists helped by 14 young students has landed on the Auckland Islands after a four-day voyage from Auckland on the HMNZS Otago.

They're gathering data that will inform a proposed environmental research facility named after Sir Peter Blake.

Today Tama Potaka stepped onto the Auckland Islands roughly 400 years after his ancestor did.

"When I arrived here, my heart was pounding to feel the wairua (spirit) of my ancestor who arrived here today and me, about to land on these shores is just breathtaking," he says.

Tama is one of 14 young explorers who have sailed to the Auckland Islands with the Sir Peter Blake Trust to understand how they are affected by climate change.

The Trust plans to build Blake Station at sheltered Smith Harbour. Professor Gary Wilson is the driving force behind the proposed research facility.

"It's about working that out before it's too late to be able to do something about it, or before it's too late to say 'actually, we didn't want to push climate change that far' so the knowledge is power."

And that power is now in the hands of a new generation.