Each day during the month of April, the Institute will feature one of the 30 ‘perspectives’ from the One Ocean report. These short articles include a diverse range of views regarding oceans management in New Zealand. Enjoy!


Dr Ocean Mercier, Pukenga Matua/Senior Lecturer at Te Kawa a Māui, Victoria University of Wellington

Toitū te marae a Tāne, toitū te marae a Tangaroa, toitū te iwi

My nana loved bubus, but after losing a leg she couldn’t gather them herself. So Mum and I went out scrambling over rocks and tide pools to collect some for her (and her cat, Hikurangi). Twisting the sea snails off the rocks, they chink-chinked into the flax kete along with our kōrero and laughter – and only the incoming tide brought us in.

In 2011 World Wildlife Fund’s Ocean: Views creative writing and media contest invited ‘New Zealanders from all walks of life to reflect on their own connection to the sea’, and the poems and stories were so beautiful that my own love for our oceans was widened and deepened. But whether we live 50 metres, 50 kilometres or 2,500 kilometres from a beach, we all connect to the sea. Visiting Sakej Youngblood Henderson in Saskatchewan, Canada, I asked him ‘How do you live so far from the ocean?’ He responded: ‘We are not far from it; we are in the sea. It doesn’t stop at the coast. It is all around us.’

What a powerful notion, that we all live in and breathe the sea. The whakatauki above carries this idea too: Tangaroa’s domain (sea) is connected to Tāne’s domain (land), and only by their mutual health will we thrive. So when I think of governance, I think of it as all our responsibility, and I am encouraged by the personal encounters of locals with seas, like Nana, her bubus and her bubu collectors.

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