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Nelson/Marlborough region

richardandchildrenThe Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman region is a fantastic place to study all things marine. Probably more than any other area in New Zealand, the region runs on seawater! The education programmes offered are similar to those in Dunedin but have been adapted for the "Top of the South".

Our educator in the Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman region is Richard de Hamel.  He is very experienced and has a wide background in biological sciences much of which has been based around islands and ocean environments as well as having worked in a wide range of land-based natural environments. He is creative, humorous, and specialises in hands-on learning experiences often using games, puppets and dress-up activities to add an element of fun to his sessions. Richard often calls it “education by subterfuge”. Thousands of Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman children have taken part in his programmes.

This programme is supported by a Ministry of Education LEOTC (Learning Experiences Outside The Classroom) contract.  There is a small charge to cover individual programme expenses; $4 per student for a single class booking or $3 per student for multiple bookings. The contract does not cover transport, for sessions in Marlborough or Golden Bay we charge a $200 transport levy.  For Mutueka, Marahau and Cable Bay there is a $50 transport levy.  All prices are exclusive of GST.

Primary programmes

All our primary programmes are experiential. Programmes can be adapted to the needs of the class, the situation, particular interests and topic. They cover a wide variety of topics including food chains, adaptations, Maori fishing methods and technology, beach studies, albatross and flight, fishing and sustainability and the famous Pirate programme! Some of the programmes are based on boats like the “Voyage of Discovery”, others attempt to get children to fly - like an albatross!
See Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman region primary programme outlines.

Secondary programmes

Secondary programmes at the senior levels link into NCEA requirements like the Biology 3.1 Small animal studies, which are run in conjunction with the Cawthron Institute and NMIT. Level 3 Earth and Space science is supported with a research trip out into Tasman Bay by boat. Shoreline transects for level 2 and comparative dissection/anatomy sessions fit well at any level. At lower levels there are many options, from shark studies to learning about food chains.
See Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman region secondary programme outlines.

Tailored programmes and special events

There are often special events like Seaweek or Conservation Week that may have a ‘limited time’ programme. School camps may have an interest in shore studies and combine this with a boat trip to see what happens further out in the ocean. We can dovetail into other concurrent programmes like the “Experiencing Marine Reserves” snorkeling experience, to provide expert help on the beach or in the water. There is also an entertaining and interactive, evening programme available for school camps.
See more information about tailored programmes and special events.

What people say about the Nelson region programmes

Don’t rely on what we say.  See what students, teachers and parents say about these programmes.

Education Resources

The NZ Marine Studies Centre has produced a wide range of free resources to assist you with your marine education programmes and help you identify creatures you find on the shore.

Check out our marine resources.


For Nelson/Marlborough region enquiries and bookings:
Richard de Hamel
Tel 64 21 4 62326 (64 21 4 OCEAN)

Stay in touch

If you would like to join the Nelson region email list, please contact