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Breakfast Talk – Ocean detectives

04 Mar 2019


Monday 4 March 2019, 9.00am - Monday 4 March 2019, 10.30am


Learning Center, New Zealand Maritime Museum, Corner Quay and Hobson Streets, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland

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09 373 0800

Ocean detectives - tracking plastics in our marine environment

Join us for a breakfast talk with Heni Unwin in partnership with Sustainable Seas National Science and Cawthron Institute.

Light breakfast/morning tea provided. Registrations required.

Plastic waste is a global problem. Plastic that is dumped in the sea or ends up in the ocean can accumulate on beaches or be transported many kilometres by ocean currents. Plastic destroys marine environments.

Scientists from the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge are developing a new digital tool to track how ocean currents transport plastics. Using modelling data for Cook Strait and Tasman-Golden Bays, they have produced an interactive tool which allows users to “drop” a piece of virtual plastic into the ocean and watch where the ocean currents take it. This kind of tool could eventually help to manage the impact of plastics in our marine environment. It can also be used as a teaching resource for students studying marine pollution.

At this seminar you will have a chance to try out the prototype tool and give feedback to Heni which will help her project team develop it further.

About the speaker:

Heni Unwin (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Atihaunui-a-Papaarangi) is a scientist at the Cawthron Institute with a background in marine biology, chemistry and Māori studies.

She has always had a love for the ocean but knew she wanted she wanted to study all things marine after snorkeling in Rarotonga at age of 10. Being Māori, Heni has a strong connection to the taiao (environment), one of the sayings from her iwi (tribe) is “Ko au te awa, te awa ko au”, “I am the river, the river is me”. She believes that in order to take care of the numerous issues in the environment we will need to combine mātauranga māori and science research for a sustainable future. Heni works within the Cawthron Maori Research Business and Development team, and the Coastal and Freshwater team helping to implement Matauanga Maori into science projects.