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Signs of the Sea aims to build a sharable kaupapa with the wider community for looking after our native coastal plants and animals, now and for the future. The signage includes activiations (simple activities that build environmental awareness) to hone people's observation skills, their awareness of their natural heritage, and opportunity for their role as kaitiakitanga.

Each activity is designed to be repeatable so enacting them becomes a ritual of mindfulness while visiting coastal places. Engaging our senses to carefully observe our natural environment is a first step in coming to know it, and in knowing it, becoming aware of changes within it. We need to pay attention to what is happening today, learn from the past, and prepare for the future.

The Signs of the Sea provide opportunities for all ages in informal learning, hands-on involvement, and creative activity to help build a sense of place along our coast. The signs may be used as activity stations for school field trips and community events in coastal areas or installed on coastal walkways for independent use by families and the community.

We have designed 35 signs for sandy, muddy and rocky shores and wharfs. Choose the signage most relevant for your coastal site. The signs are also available in te reo Māori.

Rocky Shore signs

Get in the Zone image

Download signs for rocky shore environments. Learn about how animals adapt to rocky habitats, how to look at change over time, and more.

Muddy Shore signs

Monitoring Mud sign image

Download signs for muddy shore environments. Learn about how where sediment comes from, observe how animals live in these habitats, and more.

Sandy Shore signs

Kaitiakitanga sign image

Download signs for sandy shore environments. Track change using photography, learn about kaitiakitanga, observe kaimoana and more.

Any Shore signs

Animal Antics sign image

Download signs for any shore environments. Notice patterns in the waves and sand and compose a song, move like the animals around you and more.

Signs for Wharfs

Know the Flow sign image

Download signs suited for wharfs. Observe the changes of the tide, challenge your species identification skills and learn about water clarity.

Signs in te reo Māori

Kai Moana sign image

Download the Signs of the Sea in te reo Māori.

Your sign

Your Sign template image

Download a sign template and create your own!

Topic information and resources for using the signs

Download a PDF to all the background for the signs, including extra activities to do with your whānau, community groups or classroom.

Stay in touch

Share your walks, adventures and observations with the Signs of the Sea resource by using the hashtag #signsofthesea on social media.

You can also contact us (  or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Message in sand image
A promise written in the sand by a young person for the “Kaitiakitanga” sign.

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