Find out what's happening in Otago during Seaweek, New Zealand’s annual celebration of the sea.

Seaweek 2011 is taking New Zealand back to the future

Seaweek begins on Saturday. It is NZ’s annual celebration of the sea, coordinated by the NZ Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE). 

“It provides special opportunities to experience the beauty and mysteries of, and learn more about, the diversity and significance of our marine environment”, said national Seaweek coordinator Mels Barton.

Seaweek takes place from February 26 to March 6, 2011, but hooks in events happening throughout February and March across the whole country. The theme for 2011 is “Back to the Future! The culture, history and traditions of the sea. Kia kaha tangata moana!” 

“”Back to the future’ encourages exploration of our connections with the sea and links them to future directions,” said Ms Barton.

Launching Seaweek in Otago, The Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust is running a free fieldtrip to Victory Beach on Saturday. On Sunday, Otago Museum celebrates Seaweek and the opening of a new permanent exhibition with Otago’s Ocean Open Day.

During the week, Oamaru and Balclutha Public Libraries are putting on a free film screening of the new kiwi film ‘Water Whisperers Tangaroa’, together with a talk about Hector’s dolphins by Otago University research student Jennifer Turek.

The fifth annual Seaweek Coastal Cleanup is coming up on Sunday March 6. The Department of Conservation and Dunedin City Council urge people to take to the beaches and collect inorganic rubbish. “Rubbish on our shores and in the ocean is hazardous to us and to wildlife. Around one third of the rubbish laying round our shores and washing around our coast is household waste that could be recycled“, said event coordinator Liz Sherwood.

“Seaweek is all about learning from each other and sharing experiences about and around the sea. No one agency or organization in New Zealand manages our ocean, it is something we all contribute to and many exciting Seaweek events are already online”, said Ms Barton.
Seaweek has been run annually for 20 years.You can follow Seaweek on Facebook and Twitter.

Otago Seaweek events

‘Explore and restore Victory Beach’ with Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust

Date and time: Saturday 26 February   10.45am - 3.45pm
Location: Okia Reserve, Dick Rd, Otago Peninsula
Cost: Free

Explore the Maori and maritime history of Victory Beach, and lend a hand planting pikao (pingao) for dune habitat restoration. If you, or someone you know, are entering the Seaweek Poster Competition, don’t miss this trip.

Limited free transport is available (booking is essential). If you have spare seats in your vehicle please consider carpooling. Transport will leave from Anderson’s Bay Inlet reserve carpark at 10.00am, returning at 4.30pm. If driving, meet at Okia Reserve carpark Dick Rd, Otago Peninsula, at 10.45am. Bring your own lunch, drink, all-weather gear. 

Contact: Dave McFarlane or Sue Murray Ph +64 3 479 0011

Otago’s Ocean Open Day

Date and time: Sunday 27 February, all day
Location: Otago Museum
Cost: Free

Autahi the leopard seal is ready to be revealed! She’s taking pride of place amongst the inhabitants of Otago’s Ocean on display in a new marine-life focused section of the Ntaure Galleries. Join us for a seal-abration with expert guest speakers and plenty of family excitement, from fishy face painting to under-the-sea bracelets.

Seaweek free film screenings of Water Whisperers Tangaroa and Hector’s dolphin talks

Date: Monday 28 February
Time: 6.00pm talk - Otago’s Hector’s dolphins, 6.30pm film - Water Whisperers Tangaroa, directed by Kathleen Gallagher
Location: Oamaru Public Library, 62 Thames St, Oamaru
Library contact: Jean Rivett Ph +64 3 433 0850

Date: Wednesday 2 March
Time: 7.00pm  Jennifer Turek, Otago’s Hector’s dolphins, 7.30pm Water Whisperers Tangaroa
Location: Balclutha Public Library, 23 John St , Balclutha
Library contact: Vicki Woodrow Ph +64 3 418 1677

Pikao planting at Allans Beach, Otago Peninsula

Date and time: Thursday 3 March, 9.30am to noon

This is a Portobello School/Spiralis/STOP Inc Soc project, extending the planting already done by Portobello School in conjunction with Spiralis Environmental and Resource Management Company. The aim is to replace exotic marram grass with native sand-binding plants. Bring gloves, hand trowels, spades. STOP has some implements and gloves. Meet at the car park at the end of Allans Beach Rd at 9.30am.

Contact: Lala Frazer Ph +64 3 478 0339, email

Seaweek Poster Competition

Dates: March 6 - April 15

Design an A3, 2D, landscape poster that describes what Dunedin’s dune vegetation used to look like, the cultural importance and uses of some of these species, what has happened to these dune plants and why it is important to protect and restore these native plants for the future.

Forms can be collected from the DCC offices.There are prizes for the students and the schools. The winning poster will be displayed at one of the Dunedin City Council’s coastal dune reserves. The school with the greatest number of entries will receive native plants for the school grounds.

Contact: Dunedin City Council Parks Officer Renee Gordon Ph +64 3 477 4000 or for full details visit:

Seaweek Coastal Cleanup

Date: Sunday March 6

Collect inorganic rubbish from any part of the coast between Taieri Mouth and Waikouaiti. Take rubbish to Hancock Park between 12.00pm and 3.00pm and grab a giveaway. Alternatively, take collected rubbish to Seaweek bins at Warrington Reserve, Waikouaiti Beach carpark (Beach St), or Brighton Beach carpark by 1.00pm.

Contact: Liz Sherwood Ph DOC +64 3 477 0677

Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’s Limerick Competition

Date: Closes March 7

YEPT is holding a limerick competition for school students during Seaweek. Entrants create a five-line limerick that describes how we can best help the Hoiho, yellow-eyed penguins and the sea they live in. The best limericks will feature on the Trust’s website.

Email submissions to by Monday 7 March 2011. Please include your name, and a contact phone number. The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust will judge the competition and the prize for the most entertaining and effective limerick is a parcel of penguin-related goodies.

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