Seaweek and World Wildlife Day 2018: Supporting our future kaitiaki

Let your students' imaginations run wild and support them to become the future kaitiaki of Aotearoa as we celebrate Seaweek in New Zealand from 3 to 11 March and World Wildlife Day on 3 March. These events are great opportunities to raise awareness in your school of environmental issues and biodiversity.

This blog post highlights some inspiring online and print learning resources, and opportunities to engage students with 2018 Seaweek and World Wildlife Day.

Young girl gazing out to sea
The Girl and the Sea by Kathrin & Stefan Marks. CC BY-NC 2.0

Protect our seas

New Zealand is small by land mass but we make up for that by the length of our coastline. We have over 15,000 km of coastline, further than from Auckland to the North Pole!

Because we are never more than 120 km from the sea, it's little wonder the ocean plays an important role in New Zealand culture. From our childhood fascination with the rocky shore to kai moana, coastal baches, and Maori legends and proverbs, the surrounding ocean is an integral part of our environment and society.

He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka. A choppy sea can be navigated by canoe.

This quote on perseverance also reminds us that as an island nation, it is essential to respect and protect our moana, which is exactly the theme of this year's Seaweek: 'Toiora te moana, toiora te tangata' — Healthy seas, healthy people.

Seaweek 2018: Healthy seas, healthy people

Seaweek represents a fantastic opportunity for all New Zealanders to connect to the ocean. For schools wanting to take an active and exploratory role in Seaweek, some options include:

  • back-of-the-house tours of Te Papa
  • snorkel days
  • guided coastline tours and tours
  • free educational presentations
  • option for schools to carry out coastal clean-up events.

Visit Seaweek's what's on page for more about these activities and other events throughout NZ.

Seaweek resources and ideas

Visit marine reserves

New Zealand was one of the first countries to establish no-take marine reserves. Our first was created in 1977 — Cape Rodney–Okakari Point (Goat Island) Marine Reserve.

Organise a trip to your local marine reserve to do a comparison and see what effect human activities have on our marine life outside protected areas. Have a look at this A-Z list of marine reserves to find the one closest to you.

Services to Schools' resources for Seaweek

Services to Schools and other institutions provide a range of resources to support Seaweek activities and related inquiry learning.

Topic Explorer

Topic Explorer helps you find quality, curated resources on a range of topics to support and inspire inquiry. Relevant Seaweek topics include:

Many Answers

Many Answers entries guide students to resources about popular topics, including:

Celebrate Seaweek with books from the Schools Lending Collection

You can also order sea-related books for reading engagement and topic inquiry from Services to Schools. Information on requesting books is found in the lending service section of our website.

We asked our team of librarians to recommend their favourite Seaweek reads. The titles below are some of the many great books available from our lending collection.

Under the Ocean: Explore & Discover the Seas Around New Zealand by Gillian Candler — beautifully illustrated, this book explores the reefs, sea floor, and creatures that live in the seas around New Zealand.
Suggested level: Primary. Non-fiction.

Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson — a tiny hermit crab, a purple anemone, and a tickly bristleworm learn about sharing and friendship in this vibrantly coloured picture book by the famous children’s author, Julia Donaldson.
Suggested level: Junior, primary. Picture book.

Amazing Giant Sea Creatures: Swim with the Whales, Dolphins, and Sharks by Marie Greenwood — superb photography, fact files, maps, lift-up flaps, and slide-out pages make this book an exciting interactive experience with giant sea creatures.
Suggested level: Primary. Non-fiction.

Stuck there Forever Boat by Gillian Torckler — Tama's idyllic island life is changing. The surrounding sea is slowly flooding their land, the coral is dying, and the fish have disappeared. What can Tama do to convince his nanny to leave?
Suggested level: Junior, primary. Picture book.

Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill: A Story from the Rena Disaster by Debbie McCauley — tells the story of a little blue penguin who was covered in oil because of the oil spill from the Rena shipwreck.
Suggested level: Primary. Non-fiction.

Other teaching resources for Seaweek

  • The Department of Conservation (DOC) is developing a new education resource for investigating marine reserves 
  • National Aquarium of New Zealand — Seaweek poetry competition — get creative and write a poem.
  • The sea turtle toolkit provides a resource guide and six activities around this iconic species, the threats they face, and what we can do to protect them.
  • Sustainable Seas virtual field trip — don't let a pesky storm rain on your trip to the beach! Go on a virtual field trip to the wonderful Tasman Bay in the Nelson District.
  • Project Jonah free educational kit — Project Jonah New Zealand's World of Whales resource kit has an in-depth teachers’ resource manual, lesson plans, and a range of fascinating activities. There are only 200 kits available with free postage for schools, so order your free kit today.
  • Resources from the Science Learning Hub — the Science Learning Hub team have curated a set of their excellent New Zealand-focused marine resources.
  • Seaweek 2018 resources — a list of very useful resource links for teachers published by Seaweek 2018. Included are posters, banners, certificates, and the popular educational colouring book, The Rocky Shore Who Eats Who? which has been translated into te reo Māori.
  • Beach clean-ups — unfortunately, our oceans are now filled with more plastic and rubbish than ever. Answer Sir David Attenborough's call to action and get busy using DOC's handy guide to organising successful beach clean-ups.

Bring the sea to school

Get inspired by some of these great resources and make sure to bring the sea to school this Seaweek 2018!

OMG CATS! World Wildlife Day 2018

3 March 2018 is also World Wildlife Day and its theme for 2018 is: 'Big cats — predators under threat.'


The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Wild Classroom has a huge range of resources for teaching and learning. A small sample includes:

Don't forget the tiger toolkit, which provides a resource guide and six activities around this iconic species. You can also meet the big cats on the World Wildlife Day website.

Crazy cat lady's recommendations

Services to Schools' very own, self-declared 'crazy cat lady' librarian Mini Prasad recommends the following books for World Wildlife Day 2018: Big cats — predators under threat.

The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney — in this wordless retelling of an Aesop fable, an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when he rescues the King of the Jungle. Suggested level: Junior, primary. Picture book.

The Stone Lion by Margaret Wild — a statue lion dreams about running and leaping across a park until he finds an abandoned baby at his paws.
Suggested level: Junior, primary. Picture book.

Tiger on a Tree by Anushka Ravishankar, Pulak Biswas — after trapping a tiger in a tree, a group of men must decide what to do with it.
Suggested level: Junior. Picture book.

Bengal Tigers are Awesome! by Megan Cooley Peterson — the story of Bengal tigers, their lifestyle, environment, and diet.
Suggested level: Junior. Non-fiction.

Developing future kaitiaki

Both Seaweek and World Wildlife Day present opportunities to engage with young people on conservation issues, and to assist them to prepare to be future caretakers of our planet.

The resources mentioned in this blog represent some of the many quality books and websites available to help teach these topics and raise awareness about the richness of the earth's life on land and in the sea.

By Rene Burton

Rene is the National Manager Online with Services for Schools.

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Shirley Peterson October 22nd at 9:11PM

Great summary with relevance to all of NZ. Please do something similar soon in order to encourage schools to include Seaweek in their Term 1 planning