Our 12-14 day expedition will collect microplastics and biosecurity data in the Hauraki Gulf & Islands areas and Whangarei, whilst exploring the wider marine environment of coastal Greater Auckland and Northland. This interdisciplinary oceanic research expedition aims to inspire and engage the public and educate people about the importance of working collaboratively to preserve a healthy ocean.
Our official programme launch event, held over 2 days in November 2019, provided a unique opportunity for the programme’s ~30 domestic and international science, Māori and end-user partners to meet and kick-start this shared 5-year research programme.
Delegates from councils and central government provided detailed overviews of marine biosecurity challenges, operational programmes and priorities across jurisdictions. Partners from Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust gave an account of the diverse marine environments in their rohe and of their concerns regarding the impacts of marine pest incursions on values associated with it.
These updates we used as the basis for focused discussions and analyses on day 2 of the workshop and enabled the broader programme team to commence planning and prioritising research activities across the programme for the first 1-2 years. Reflected by feedback from attendees, the scientific and social agendas of the workshop established a shared team spirit and provided a catalyst for enduring research partnerships.