A unique hands-on training program supporting eight local young adults on their path towards a marine conservation career was launched earlier this week.
The program focuses on the principles of kaitiakitanga o te moana across multiple industries.
Funded by DOC’s Jobs for Nature programme, the five months full-time Marine Kaitiaki Course will see students take part in marine education, eco-tourism, research and environmental government projects. This is in addition to attending lectures and visiting fisheries and aquaculture facilities to deepen their understanding and connection to te moana.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for all involved and truly displays collaboration to achieve greater conservation outcomes” says DOC Jobs for Nature Delivery Manager, Stephanie Hayes.
The training will give the students tools to boost their careers, gain several certifications, including scuba diving, Boatmaster, marine mammal medic and more. In depth career coaching and the creation of personal kaitiaki project constitutes the final step towards reaching their marine career goals.
“The Marine Kaitiaki Course is more than a course, it aims to empower the next generation of marine conservationists, with a vision for a sustainable future for our moana and local communities,” says Program Director for the course, Thibaud Guerin.
The creation of the Bay of Islands Marine Mammal Sanctuary brought together local marine educators, researchers, eco-tourism operators and coastal hapū. Throughout this platform, the need for more marine education was identified, and the opportunity to transform vision into reality was provided by Jobs for Nature, with funding of $627,000 received.