Date: 09 March 2020
Year 9 students were all given the opportunity to dive into the Hauraki Gulf and Northland waters and to soar with the birds above it, all while sitting in the classroom.
Blake NZ VR is a partnership with New Zealand Geographic, which uses virtual reality videos to connect thousands of young people with our marine environment and they visited OHS on Friday.
Students donned headsets to explore the rich and beautiful ocean around the Poor Knight Islands and the marine reserve of Goat Island, located an hour north of Auckland. Here the crystal clear ocean was teeming with fish of different varieties and sizes, seaweed; home, shelter and food for many species was thriving and amazing coloured sponges were in abundance. Students gasped and in some cases squealed as they came up close to prowling sharks and huge stingrays gliding silently around them.
In stark contrast, the sea in the inner Hauraki Gulf appeared murky, the colour was gone with the sponges and seaweed, the fish were sparse in comparison and the Kina prolific in the absence of Snapper, the fish that in a healthy ecosystem would be eating them.
Students were able to see with their own eyes, the toll that pollution and overfishing are having on our marine environment. They explored the concept of Kaitiakitanga; the guardianship of our environment. Our ocean is our future and so they discussed all the things that we could do to protect our oceans so that we can all enjoy them now and in the future.
Thank you to Alice and Courtney the educators from Blake NZ. Students enjoyed this experience tremendously but more importantly now understand the damage that is being done to our oceans and what we can do to help.
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