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Curious Minds grant to help build prototype NZL Blue Belt Site at Worser Bay

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

The Boat & Beach Wise Trust, in partnership with Yachting New Zealand, the NZL SailGP Team, Live Ocean, NZ Marine Studies Centre, Blake NZ, Te Toki Voyaging Trust and Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust, with support from Sport NZ, has been successful in securing an Unlocking Curious Minds grant as part of the Government's drive to encourage all New Zealanders to ask good questions, solve local problems and uncover innovative science and technology solutions for a brighter future.

During 2023 the grant will be used to trial and finalise the generic NZL Blue Belt monitoring tools and processes that will be used at Worser Bay, and in time at other NZL Blue Belt sites around the country. Local schools will work with the Boat & Beach Wise, Mountains to Sea, and NZ Marine Studies Centre teams to finalise the monitoring tools and processes for all NZL Blue Belt sites and set in place the long-term projects for the prototype NZL Blue Belt Site at Worser Bay.

Trialing NZL Blue Belt monitoring tools and processes

  • Plankton communities (using nets and settlement plates)

  • Water temperature monitoring locations

  • Inter-tidal biodiversity monitoring using Marine Metre Squared (MM2) (substrate mapping with photogrammetry to be trialed)

  • Sub-tidal biodiversity monitoring (e.g., quadrats, transects, go pro cameras, BUV)

  • Sediment plate monitoring

  • Baited video station monitoring

We have landed on a set of generic monitoring tools that can be used at any NZL Blue Belt site. We will trial the tools with schools in the Motu Kairangi Kāhui Ako as well as Wellington High School. The NZ Marine Studies Centre (NZMSC) team will create a set of simple methods that can be used with each of the tools. The goal is to trial the tools, along with the processes for adding data to the MM2 database, during 2023. Initial exploratory work in the use of the tools will take place mostly during term one spilling over to term two. We will then evaluate how this has gone through term three and retest the use of the tools in term four, before finalising them as the NZL Blue Belt tools for use across sites around Aotearoa New Zealand.

Establishing student led NZL Blue Belt projects at Worser Bay

There are five long term projects that will be implemented at the Worser Bay NZL Blue Belt site which will get underway during 2023.

Paua Nursery: The paua nursery project will be led by the Wellington East Girl’s College team with support from Katie Fenton from NZMSC. During 2023 we will sew the groundwork for this ongoing ‘take action’ project over the next few years at Worser Bay. The long-term goal is that the paua nursery at Worser Bay is used as a base for growing stock that can be used to reseed sites with paua around Motu Kairangi coastline, from Seatoun wharf to Scorching Bay. There are a range of preliminary research tasks that ākonga will get underway with in 2023 such as establishing a baseline of the paua numbers in and around the Worser Bay site, consultation with iwi and local community, finding out how to grow paua, exploring how to transplant paua, discovering what permissions are required to do this, and what protections can be put in place to safeguard the nursery.

Anemone garden: The anemone garden project will involve ākonga from a group of primary schools in the Kāhui Ako. These ākonga will run through a Moanamana version of the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme facilitated by the Mountains to Sea Wellington (MTSW) team. Each class will receive a class visit by a MTSW facilitator to set the scene for the project, will be introduced to the NZL Blue Belt tools and snorkeling at a pool session, will apply these tools at a snorkeling session at Worser Bay, and will then take-action by choosing a species and investigating how the site could be better managed to improve conditions for that species to thrive in the anemone garden area at Worser Bay. The Boat & Beach Wise (B&BW) team will use these ideas as part of a proposal to Wellington City and Regional Councils to install rock revetment and associated amenities to protect the buildings in this corner of Worser Bay, and in the process create a garden area that includes the ideas for habitat put forward by ākonga.

Kelp forest. The kelp forest project will involve MTSW working with kura and schools, and members of the broader community to establish a site for a kelp forest to the North of Worser Bay as part of the Love Rimurimu project. This will involve mapping kelp growth in Worser Bay and establishing tanks for growing kelp and associated species in the ‘Boat & Beach Wise’ shed at Worser Bay Boating Club. It will also include bringing the Worser Bay site into the broader Love Rimurimu kaupapa including securing the permitting to achieve this.

Snorkel trail. The snorkel trail will be led by the Wellington High School team with support from NZMSC and MTSW. During 2023 we will get underway with mapping out the trail and with the design and installation of the four key components that will make up the snorkel trail – story blocks, biodiversity surveys, sediment plates, and bait stations. Ākonga will investigate biodiversity survey methods and identify how long-term data can be collected using quadrats, transects, cameras, settlement plates. A series of stops on the snorkel trail will be established for story blocks with handholds that people can dive down to and read one aspect of the story of Wellington harbour, from Tangaroa, Tāwhirimātea, Ika-a- Maui, Ngake, Kupe, Tara, to Heberley and the naming of Worser Bay. Adjacent to each block will be a survey station and throughout the trail will be a series of baited video stations. Each of these elements will be made and installed in such a way that they are heavy enough to remain in situ but not too heavy so that cannot be removed if necessary. Waka building. The waka building project will be undertaken by the Rongotai College team with support from the B&BW team. The goal over two to three years is for ākonga at Rongotai College to build two wakatere to be used at Worser Bay, within the context of the Moanamana module for plankton and temperature monitoring. The wakatere will also be used within the Kōrinorino and Kōkōkaha modules of the broader RUNA programme across the Kāhui Ako. Groups of ākonga from Rongotai will travel to the SailGP in Christchurch and later in the year go on a Waka Hourua wānanga with the Te Toki Voyaging Trust to help them get a feel for what is possible as they embark on their waka building journey.

Worser Bay is providing an example for others to follow

Moanamana is the final module to be developed in the RŪNĀ school and kura engagement framework. Moanamana will pass through the piloting phase during 2023, after which Worser Bay will become the prototype NZL Blue Belt site, providing a model for others to build from. Yachting NZ’s ‘strengthen and adapt’ project will begin to expand the RŪNĀ to sailing and boating clubs around the country. Over the next three years four further clubs will become tier one RŪNĀ hubs, delivering all three RŪNĀ modules, including establishing their own NZL Blue Belt sites. Later this year community, ocean sport club and student leaders will get the opportunity to participate in a wānanga facilitated by Blake NZ to begin the process of planning their own NZL Blue Belt ocean restoration projects.

Moanamana contributes to Sport NZ's goal to provide quality physical activity experiences for tamariki and rangatahi

Moanamana is a learning with sport topic that is being developed as part of the ‘In Our Backyard’ project, which is led by Sport New Zealand in partnership with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and four national sports organisations.

‘In Our Backyard’ is developing new opportunities for ākonga to learn with sport as Aotearoa New Zealand hosts a series of major sporting events. The project complements the Healthy Active Learning initiative, a collaboration between Sport New Zealand and the Ministries of Health and Education to improve the wellbeing of ākonga through healthy eating and drinking and quality physical activity.

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