Kaitiaki on the Marine Kaitiaki Jobs for Nature programme
Image: Thibaud Guerin | ©

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Graduates from the Te Pēwhairangi (Bay of Islands) Jobs for Nature Marine Kaitiaki Course have all secured post training work or will continue training in the marine conservation field.

Date:  29 September 2022

Over the last eight months the students have worked with iwi and experienced professionals, gaining the skills and knowledge to kick-start their marine conservation careers. They dove into marine education, research, eco-tourism, mātauranga Māori and environmental government modules, deepening their understanding and connection to te Moana.

The project was funded through the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) Jobs for Nature programme and was awarded $627,080 to be used over three years (until June 2024). This will allow to run the course three times, with the next two courses scheduled for 2023 and 2024.

“The work undertaken in this Jobs for Nature project highlights the importance of the marine environment in Northland and the training provides a strong base for the challenges we will face in the future,” says Bronwyn Bauer-Hunt, DOC Bay of Islands Operations Manager.

“Northland has a unique marine environment which includes the Te Pēwhairangi (Bay of Islands) Marine Mammal Sanctuary which was put in place last December and the ecological significant site of the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve.”

Graduates gained several certifications, including Coastguard Boatmaster, PADI Open Water and Advanced scuba diving, First Aid, Project Jonah Marine Mammal Medic, Marine Disentanglement Level 1 and CERT Situational Safety, giving them the best tools to boost their careers.

The students presented their own Kaitiaki Projects at their graduation, sharing their knowledge on using man-made oyster reefs to filter waterways, underwater camera systems to study sharks, base-line studies on the status of local kelp beds, local impacts of ocean acidification, marine mammal conservation efforts in Northland and the importance of traditional Māori fishing methods and tikanga.

Shanice Seddon Rihari has accepted a position with DOC through the Sentinel A Nuku group to become part of the next generation of environment and conservation managers.

In pursuit of their diving careers, Mariata Kemp has accepted a commercial diving position in Tasmania while Jasmin Ngaro obtained a scholarship to pursue a Diploma in Diving and Diving Instructor course with Dive Zone Bay of Islands.

Gaby Ackers, Isabella Rewha and Kirihi Brown have all accepted scholarship positions to attend the Maritime Training and Operations course with QRC and the R. Tucker Thompson.

The Marine Kaitiaki course was born from a shared vision from local marine educators, researchers, eco-tourism operators and coastal hapū. Jobs For Nature offered the opportunity to transform this vision into reality, and TriOceans developed the course in collaboration with Nga Hapū o te Pēwhairangi and Carino Wildlife Cruises.

Background information

Jobs for Nature/Mahi mō te Taiao is a $1.219 billion government programme which aims to benefit New Zealand’s environment, people and regional communities.

DOC was allocated $488 million to create nature-based job opportunities for approximately 6,000 people over a four-year period starting in June 2020. Work includes pest and predator control, riparian fencing and planting, threatened species protection, habitat restoration and restoring wetlands, rivers and streams.


For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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