Having a whale of a time with our Conservation Heroes!
On Saturday 27th October, in recognition for all their hard work, the winners of our Conservation Heroes competition boarded the Dolphin Explorer for a morning exploring the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Joined by their family and friends, our crew, competition partners and research experts, Dr Rochelle Constantine and Clinton Duffy, the trip provided the opportunity to mix and mingle with other like-minded locals.
Alongside plenty of interesting conversations, our heroes learnt all about the marine food chain in the Hauraki Gulf from the phyto- and zooplankton right through to the marine mammals. The trip saw plenty of wildlife with a fleeting visit from common dolphins and heaps of seabirds. However, the stars of the morning were a mother and calf Bryde's whale feeding on plankton and we were all treated to an informative talk from Dr Rochelle Constantine on the research she and her students have conducted on this species.
Crew member Lu talking zooplankton with our guests (top) and a mother Bryde's whale surfaces in front of the Dolphin Explorer (bottom)
After an exciting few hours on the water, it was time to head home but not before some equally as informative talks from Clinton Duffy on sharks in New Zealand as well as some of the heroes who took the opportunity to tell us about the work they are conducting and the importance of some of the beautiful islands here in the Hauraki Gulf.
On departure, our heroes did not leave empty handed! Each winner received a goody bag containing environmentally friendly gifts, kindly sponsored by CuppaCoffeeCup, Honeywrap, Rethink, GoodFor and GoBamboo.
A huge thank you to everyone involved in this year's competition including our competition partners who joined us on the day - Project Jonah New Zealand, Forest & Bird, Department of Conservation - Pai and Piri and ATEED (Visit Auckland).