Field trip | Levels: 3-4: Learn why a field trip to a marine reserve is a great opportunity to study marine life in its natural habitat.

This teaching resource is a comprehensive guide to visiting and studying marine reserves. 

Although designed around Auckland area marine reserves, it can be adapted to suit any region’s marine reserves.

It suggests ways of preparing for a visit to a marine reserve and offers teaching and learning exercises that don't contravene the Marine Reserves Act 1971 that says marine life in a reserve cannot be taken or disturbed. These include: watching animal behaviour, counting animals without collecting them, and mapping positions and densities of plants and animals without disturbing them.

About the resource

This 158-page education kit is a comprehensive guide to visiting and studying marine reserves in a way that minimises disturbance to marine life and compiles with the Marine Reserves Act 1971. 

It's designed for bulk photocopying for use with a school teaching programme. You can download the kit as a series of PDFs or order a hard copy from the office below.

Every school may have one copy of each kit free and additional copies can be bought for $10 each.

Marine Reserve field trips

Download the resource

  1. Cover page /contents (PDF, 289K)
  2. Introduction (PDF, 61K)
  3. Ready for a trip? (PDF, 42K)
  4. Planning (PDF, 93K)
    • Planning for studies of intertidal (shore) and subtidal (underwater) areas.
  5. Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve  (PDF, 199K)
  6. Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve  (PDF, 179K) 
  7. Feeding fish in marine reserves (PDF, 206K)
    • A cross-curricular approach to a marine reserve issue. 
  8. Classroom exercises (PDF, 174K)
  9. How intertidal animals avoid drying out (PDF, 57K)
  10. The seashore food cycle (PDF, 340K)
  11. Marine feeding methods (PDF, 450K)
  12. Marine feeding methods cont. (PDF, 525K)
  13. Biodiversity (PDF, 287K)
  14. The hermit crab – model study  (PDF, 86K)
  15. Fish identification and habitat relationships (PDF, 401K)
  16. Exercises at Goat Island Bay (PDF, 619K)
  17. Zonation on terraced rocky shores (PDF, 53K)
  18. Zonation at Long Bay (PDF, 350K)
  19. Zonation at Goat Island (PDF, 246K)
  20. Distribution at Goat Island and Long Bay (PDF, 647K)
  21. Life in rock pools (PDF, 64K)
  22. Measuring animals in a marine reserve (PDF, 216K)
  23. Marine reserve resources (PDF, 84K)
  24. An action oriented approach (PDF, 34K)
  25. Evaluation form (PDF, 19K)

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 


  • Marine and coastal
  • Native animals
  • Native plants

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science

Publication information

The Marine Reserves Education Kit was written and illustrated by John Walsby and published by the Auckland Conservancy of the Department of Conservation. 

This is the third edition. The text and illustrations in the Marine Reserves Education Kit are covered by copyright.

ISBN 0-478-22151-7


Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Office
Phone:   +64 9 307 9279
Address:   Ground Floor - Building 2
Carlaw Park Commercial
12-16 Nicholls Lane
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