Seaweek 2015 (28 February to 8 March)

Department of Conservation —  02/03/2015

Welcome to Seaweek 2015 (28 February to 8 March). It’s time to “Look beneath the surface – Papatai ō roto – Papatai ō raro”.

Seaweek 2015 poster

The sea is part of our lives—we swim in it, sail on it, eat food from it…

Many aspects of the sea affect us. The sea controls climate, supports life, wears away and creates land, and provides resources.

Life on Earth depends on the sea. However, look beneath the surface, and life under the sea is a mystery to many of us. Compared to our knowledge of life on land, we know much less about what goes on in the ocean.

Children snorkelling, Pilot Bay, Mount Maunganui. Photo: S.Twaddle.

Snorkelling, Pilot Bay, Mount Maunganui

New Zealand has a large and incredibly diverse marine environment. It extends over 30° of latitude—from sub-tropical to subantarctic.

Scientists estimate that our marine habitats provide homes for up to 65,000 marine species (although only 15,000 of these species have been named!).

Scaly-headed triplefin, Open Bay Islands . Photo: Paddy Ryan. DOC use only.

Scaly-headed triplefin

Scientists also estimate that as much as 80% of New Zealand’s native biodiversity may be found in the sea. Yet less than 1% of our marine environment has ever been surveyed.

On average, seven new marine species are identified every fortnight.

Snapper and snorkellers, Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island). Photo: Brian Mackie. DOC use only.

Snapper and snorkellers, Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve

“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realise that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent. ” — Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist

Father and son snorkling with fish at Poor Knights Marine Reserve. Photo: Roger Grace, Experiencing Marine Reserves Programme. DOC use only.

Father and son snorkelling with fish at Poor Knights Marine Reserve

Seaweek is a great opportunity to learn a little more about life beneath the surface.

Find out what’s on in your region during the week.

Blue-eyed triplefin. Photo: Paddy Ryan. DOC use only.

Blue-eyed triplefin

You might like to enter one of the Seaweek competitions:

National poetry competition

Write a Haiku (three-line poem) inspired by the Seaweek 2015 theme, illustrate it with a photograph, and post onto the Seaweek Facebook page.

“Seaweek Selfie” photo challenge

Post a selfie showing yourself “Looking Beneath the Surface” and being an “Ultimate Young Ocean Explorer” and post onto the Seaweek Facebook page.

Learn more about these competitions on the Seaweek website.

Two species of compound ascidians, 30 ft below the surface of the sea, Lottin Point, East Cape. Photo: Kim Westerskov © DOC use only.

Two species of ascidians, 30 ft below the surface of the sea, East Cape

Seaweek’s a wonderful time to know our ocean—its habitats, characteristics and inhabitants—better.

“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides.” — Jules Verne, Science Fiction Writer