A deep dive into Sea Week

By our Environmental Prefects
Anja Filip, Moe Tun, Sian Moloney, Rosa Troughton and Luna Watanabe

On Monday 7 March we began our celebration of Te Moana, our seas, oceans and bodies of water around us.

This is a celebration of awareness which was started in Aotearoa in 1992 by the NZ Association for Environmental Education. For 30 years this celebration has given Kiwis the opportunity to “take time to connect with the sea”.

We sprung into action with an introduction presented by our Environmental Prefects Moe (Hauraki), and Anja (Akoranga) on the ideas of Marine Conservation and protecting the biodiversity of our ocean. This was followed by our speaker Charlie Thomas who educated our students on his experience travelling the Pacific and investigating the effects of plastic pollution. With the help of our Enviro Leaders we were able to create a ‘bubbletastic’ frame, scavenger hunt and movie to finalise our week’s success!

On Thursday the scavenger hunt took place. It was such a fun event to work on alongside the Enviro Leaders, including helping create posters, promote Sea Week through speaking to form classes and setting up the scavenger hunt. By 8.30am on Thursday we already had photos sent through of people finding the posters. Throughout the day we got notifications of others also sending through their photos. We were pleasantly surprised with the number of people who got involved. Overall, the scavenger hunt was a success and such a fun way to promote Sea Week.

On Wednesday during lunch, the team went around with the photo frame made by the help of enviro leaders. During the week prior to Sea Week the enviro leaders were able to help us create this amazing frame led by Wairau prefect, Lunar. In particular we had numbers of very committed and enviro enthusiastic year 9s coming in almost every lunch time to bring the frame to life, with drawings such as Patrick and Plankton and other relevant marine animals.

When the day of the photo frame came, we were able to engage with many students as well as spread awareness of Sea Week and what it is all about. 

Check out our instagram page @zerowastelake to see the photos

Speaker Event

Westlake students were able to learn, listen and question Charlie Thomas (he/them) about their involvement with the seas. Charlie talked about their love for conservation and our oceans that was fostered from a young age and how this has developed over the years. Their passion for marine birds and conservation landed them an awesome adventure on Kure Atoll.

As a nineteen year old, he spent several months on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, hanging out with Albatrosses and alike. Despite the remoteness the effects of human actions and plastic pollution were strongly evident. The stomachs of baby birds were full of plastic, nests were built from rubbish and the coast of this small island was blanketed in plastic. From fishing nets to children’s toys, the threat of plastic to our seas and even the places most removed from society, was shocking to hear about. 

Charlie showed us the unfortunate reality of much of our oceans and marine birds around the world, but also inspired us to want to help. Students learnt how taking part in beach clean ups, reducing our purchases of unnecessary packaging/plastic and educating younger kids can all lead to positive changes and conservation of our marine life. At such a young age, Charlie was an incredibly powerful and relatable speaker for our students and to hear about their time on Kure Atoll was super interesting and eye opening. 


One Monday, we introduced Westlake students to a week of fun-filled activities celebrating the marine-life of Aotearoa, and encouraging Kiwi’s to renew their relationship with our oceans. Since this was our first event for the school, we were so excited for this particular day.

So on Monday, in our usual Enviro-group room, Akoranga and Hauraki Enviro Prefects, Anja and Moe, conducted an Enviro-educate session, introducing Kaupapa Moana (Sea Week). Prepared by Anja and Moe, the slideshow introduced how Kaupapa Moana came to be and also informed everyone of the events happening around the school that week. Coupled with several of her own pictures of marine life, Anja also shared many interesting facts about the sea that definitely sparked many people’s interests. 

After our presentation, we ended the Enviro-educate session off with a classic game of kahoot. The top 3 on the podium were awarded a bar of chocolate each, with number 1 also getting an adorable crochet jellyfish made by the Hauraki prefect.