March marine conservation forum in Auckland

New Zealand Through the Lens : Northland. Cape Reinga. Credit: Richard Robinson, New Zealand Herald

Thanks to a major funding grant from the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, Ngati Kuri and Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum will host a marine conservation forum: Taiātea – Gathering of Oceans in March 2019.

Significant and worsening threats to marine environments mean that urgent, internationally co-ordinated action to protect the global ocean is essential.

Run in partnership with Ngati Kuri (manawhenua of Rangitahua Kermadec Islands and the northern New Zealand marine area), and with the active engagement of The Pew Charitable Trusts, WWF-NZ and Conservation International, Taiātea will celebrate current progress and identify the work required to protect and nurture the mauri of the Pacific Ocean for future generations.

Tom Trnski, Head of Natural Sciences at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum, says, “I have had the privileged opportunity to undertake marine research at many islands across Moana-nui-a-kiwa, the Pacific Ocean. Over the last 30 years I have observed a changing coastal environment that is under pressure from a range of human impacts. Urgent action and new approaches are required to slow the downward trajectory of ocean health.

“Taiātea presents an opportunity for scientists and indigenous ocean leaders to work together to help support the protection of the marine oceanscape across the Pacific.”

The event will bring together kaitiaki of culture and marine science from across the Pacific, to share knowledge, embrace shared aspirations and deepen connections amongst advocates of the region. Participants will represent indigenous voices, community leaders, education specialists, students, and science and conservation partners from across the Pacific islands: Hawaii, Mariana Islands, Palau, New Caledonia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Pitcairn Islands, French Polynesia, Chile, Niue, Cook Islands and Tokelau. The gathering will also connect the participants with the rohe moana of Ngati Kuri, other iwi of Aotearoa, and the Pacific taonga held at Auckland Museum.

Taiātea will see an initial gathering within the rohe of Ngati Kuri from 4-7 March 2019, followed by a hui at Auckland Museum from 8-11 March. Over the course of the event, there will be talks, workshops, community sessions and field trips to local areas. The forum will see facilitation of ongoing conversations and connections across the Pacific, a plan for alignment of existing Pacific marine site groups with recognised UNESCO sites, and increased support and advocacy for enduring kaitiakitanga across the Pacific.

A full programme of events to come, including LATE at the Museum, a panel discussion on Pacific Oceanscapes – lost, found and sustained.

To register interest in TAIĀTEA – Gathering of Oceans email waitangi262@gmail.com