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Nelson/Marlborough region
- primary programmes

richardsteadfastVoyage of Discovery – Nelson, Picton or Mistletoe Bay

This unique programme takes place aboard a chartered commercial sailing vessel. Students undertake a range of duties while on board. These include helping to haul the sails, steer the boat, navigate and plot our position on the chart, take soundings (measure the depth), use a traditional ship’s log (for measuring speed), identify seabirds and other wildlife, take plankton and bottom samples, etc. You will be shown what to do and there will be adults available to help out if needed. 4 - 5 hours. Year 4-10 Levels 3-5. 
Note - due to the use of a charter boat in this programme, extra costs may apply.
Download full information about the Voyage of Discovery – Nelson/Picton/Mistletoe Bay programme (PDF file, 86 KB)
Watch a short video about this programme.

Māori Fishing Technology

In this programme we look at the local environment and compare it to how it looked when Māori first moved to the area. What were the sources of food, shelter and water? Explore the thinking of a subsistence society and the technology it inspired. Māori developed the fish hook beyond that of any other peoples. Using modern facsimiles, we look at how they worked. We examine the raw materials available, and look at how to prepare and use those materials. Students learn how to work replica Māori drills (tuwiri), extract flax fibre, make a sample of fishing line, and try their hand at survival skills, building traps and making fire. 1.5 hours. Year 3-10 Levels 2-5.
Download full information about the Māori Fishing Technology programme (PDF file, 130 KB).
Watch a short video about this programme.

Fish, Fins and Fun School Camp Evening Programme

Get your camera ready as we learn what it’s like to live in the ocean – it may not be as easy as you think! We compare this to how a (child-sized) fish is adapted to a life at sea. We then take a light-hearted look at marine food chains with the help of some pesky puppets! 1.5 hours. Years 3-8.
Download full information about the Fish, Fins and Fun School Camp Evening programme (PDF file, 115 KB)
Watch a short video about this programme.

Sharks Inside and Out

We look at a real dead small shark and discuss its adaptations, body design and structures. We discuss teeth, attack behaviour, and look at the facts and the fiction about sharks. We dissect the shark looking at what happens to food as it travels its alimentary tract. We look at its reproductive, circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems. We talk about the sharks place in the food chain and the human impact on sharks, and indirectly on food chains. We have a 'snappy' shark quiz - where a wrong answer has consequences! 1.5 hours. Year 3-10 Levels 3-5.
Dowload full information about the Sharks Inside and Out programme (PDF file, 113 KB)

Pirates and the Ocean Treasures

Part 1: A pirate walks into the school looking for somewhere to hide a chest. The children detain him and ask to see in the chest. We find out about weapons, navigation, ship-board life, marine curios and there is a map, which ‘mistakenly’ gets left behind!
Part 2: Travel to Rabbit Island with the map on the Mapua Ferry. We find the pirate looking for the treasure but without his map, so a deal is done to share the treasure (the pirate has the key to the chest!). We follow clues past a ship wreck, a flag, ship’s supplies, a cannon and a skull to find the “X”! 3 hours. Year 1-4 Levels 1-3 (Ferry $3 pp min numbers apply).
Download full information about the Pirates and the Ocean Treasures programme (PDF file, 112 KB)
Watch a short video about this programme.

Ocean Science / Marine Mammal Programme

This programme is designed to immerse children in real ocean science research, without the deep sea swell to worry about! Using the Nature Tours boat as our research platform, we'll be learning how to use a hydrophone to eavesdrop on underwater sounds. We also learn how to take water samples and test them for temperature, salinity and clarity. Hopefully, we will see and listen to dolphins and deploy our GoPro video over the side to capture some footage. The students will take back to the classroom the days chart, and collected data, along with digital copies of the underwater sound recordings and any GoPro footage. They'll also be contributing to a world wide Citizen Science plankton study.
Note - due to the use of a charter boat in this programme, extra costs may apply.
Download full information about the Ocean Science / Marine Mammal Programme (PDF file, 115 KB)

Sustainable Fishing

Orange Roughy were New Zealand’s main export fish species, they are now eclipsed by other species.  What went wrong? How does the quota system work and how are the catch levels set? We look at how wild populations are assessed and some of the issues surrounding the research and the methods of fishing used in New Zealand. Are the fishing rules correctly set or could they be improved? Who makes the rules? Is aquaculture/marine farming as sustainable and “green” as the industry makes out? Lots of room allowed for discussion and deeper thinking. 1.5 hours. Year 4-10 Levels 3-5.
Download full information about the Sustainable Fishing programme (PDF file, 110 KB)

Shore Study

This programme takes place in various coastal locations. We begin by thinking about the difficulties small seashore animals have when living in an inter-tidal area. Using interactive games we explore the options small animals have for survival. We review our seashore etiquette before exploring the beach and rock areas looking for examples of diversity at various tide heights on the shore. After reviewing our observations we have an interactive learning game about little blue penguins. 1.5 hours. Year 4-10 Levels 3-5.
Download full information about the Shore Study programme (PDF file, 111 KB).

Intertidal Studies and Marine Metre Squared Programme

Learn about life on the shore between the tides, and explore the beach or estuary with an expert to help.  Use survey techniques to count and identify the plants and animals in a 1m x 1m square of the shore.   The class will collect real data that will then be uploaded to the national database at You will be able to compare your findings with other school classes throughout New Zealand. Real science for real people! Needs to be timed for a low tide. 2 hours. Years 3 up.
Download full information about the Intertidal Studies and Marine Metre Squared programme (PDF file, 110 KB)

Flight (Albatross) Programme

Albatross are one of the world’s wonder birds, and many call NZ their home, but how much do we know about them? The educator uses his personal experiences with these majestic birds to highlight some of their remarkable feats of flight and navigation. Despite their often isolated nesting sites, they are not immune to human impact and we look at the things being done to help protect them. A highlight of this programme is a set of wings 12 metres across (!) with which we try to launch one of the class into the air! 1.5 hours. Year 1- 8 Levels 1-5.
Download full information about the Flight (Albatross) programme. (PDF file, 77 KB)

Marahau Penguin Programme

This programme has been designed to fit with schools using the Marahau Outdoor Education Centre, but can be adapted to other locations if necessary.  We will begin by reviewing some penguin facts and learning about NZ's penguin species, and where they live. We cross the Otawhero Inlet to search for some penguin boxes built and installed about 1997 by Mahana School children. We look at the erosion around the site, talk about predators and learn a bit about penguin breeding. Using a game, we discover that being a penguin can be difficult in this modern world, but we can help. On the way home we have the option of discovering how large a blue whale might be if it were lying on the beach.
Download full information about the Marahau Penguin Programme (PDF file, 111 KB)

Snail Racing Programme

We look at the role of the common Mud Snail (Amphibola crenata) in an estuary. Using basic equipment we will research how fast the snails move and extrapolate how far they travel in a day. We will try and quantify how much mud they are processing as they do this. We also use quadrats to assess the density of snails on the estuary, and then calculate the net turnover of mud these snails achieve in a day on the estuary. From this we can deduce the impact of various environmental factors on the snails' health and the estuary overall.
Download full information about the Snail Racing Programme (PDF file, 118 KB)


For Nelson/Tasman region enquiries and bookings:
Richard de Hamel
Phone: 021 4 62326
(021 4 OCEAN)