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Seaweek: Ocean Detectives, Tracking Plastics

Seaweek: Ocean Detectives, Tracking Plastics

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  • Mon 4 Mar, 9:00am – 10:30am


New Zealand Maritime Museum, Corner Quay & Hobson Streets, Auckland CBD


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

Ocean detectives - tracking plastics in our marine environment.

A Seaweek breakfast talk with Heni Unwin in partnership with Sustainable Seas National Science and Cawthron Institute.

Light breakfast/morning tea provided. Registrations required.

Plastic waste is a global problem. Plastic that is dumped in the sea or ends up in the ocean can accumulate on beaches or be transported many kilometres by ocean currents. Plastic destroys marine environments.

Join us for this Seaweek talk with scientists from the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge who are developing a new digital tool to track how ocean currents transport plastics. Using modelling data for Cook Strait and Tasman-Golden Bays, they have produced an interactive tool which allows users to “drop” a piece of virtual plastic into the ocean and watch where the ocean currents take it.

This kind of tool could eventually help to manage the impact of plastics in our marine environment. It can also be used as a teaching resource for students studying marine pollution.

At this seminar you will have a chance to try out the prototype tool and give feedback to Heni which will help her project team develop it further.

About the speaker
Heni Unwin (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Atihaunui-a-Papaarangi) is a scientist at the Cawthron Institute with a background in marine biology, chemistry and Māori studies.

She has always had a love for the ocean but knew she wanted to study all things marine after snorkeling in Rarotonga at age of 10. Being Māori, Heni has a strong connection to the taiao (environment), one of the sayings from her iwi (tribe) is “Ko au te awa, te awa ko au”, “I am the river, the river is me”.

She believes that in order to take care of the numerous issues in the environment we will need to combine mātauranga māori and science research for a sustainable future. Heni works within the Cawthron Maori Research Business and Development team, and the Coastal and Freshwater team helping to implement Matauanga Maori into science projects.

About the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge
The Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge is one of 11 National Science Challenges. It is hosted by NIWA and is a multi-disciplinary programme of research in collaboration with over 30 organisations including Cawthron Limited.

The objective of the Sustainable Seas Challenge is to enhance utilisation of New Zealand’s marine resources within environmental and biological constraints. You can follow @Sust_seasNZ on Twitter or subscribe to their newsletter.

About Seaweek
The New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE) is a national, non-profit organisation that promotes and supports lifelong learning and encourages behaviour that leads to sustainability for New Zealand/Aotearoa. NZAEE is an independent voice for environmental education, empowering people to respect and nurture the environment, recognising its link with the social, cultural and economic aspects of sustainability.

Seaweek is NZAEE’s annual, national flagship event. It is run through NZAEE members and volunteers with support from a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations.

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