Auckland kids wanted for close encounters with marine life

Auckland kids wanted for close encounters with marine life

A conservation programme is giving south Auckland school students the opportunity to get face-to-face with marine life, free of charge.

Non-profit trust Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) helps Kiwi kids aged five to 18 get up close and personal with life under the sea.

Many of the children participating have never been to the beach before.

The programme has been rolled out across eight regions in New Zealand, from the Far North to Otago and has taken 30,000 students to the sea.

The trust has recently expanded into the Auckland region, and is hoping it proves as popular there as it has elsewhere.

"We have a waitlist of 20 schools in Northland, but we haven't quite got the demand yet in Auckland as we have only been in the region for two years," says coordinator Lorna Doogan.

EMR has funding for three south Auckland schools in its fourth term this year, and Ms Doogan says the trust doesn't have any schools lined up yet.

The group is also running a crowdfunding campaign for term one next year, to take 240 students from four south Auckland schools to Goat Island to complete the full programme.

The programme was set up more than a decade ago and aims to teach children about underwater life.

By growing an appreciation for marine life, it hopes future generations will want to protect what is there.

Children also learn safety skills and grow confidence in the water.

Below the surface, the young snorkelers get a glimpse of another world - a life-enhancing and life-changing experience for the students.


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