Dive into Wellington Harbour

The temperate waters around Wellington sustain highly diverse and productive marine ecosystems. Despite surrounding New Zealand’s capital city the marine habitats of Wellington harbour are unknown to most residents. Increasing urban and environmental pressures lead to the decline of these ecosystems. Volunteer divers and snorkelers document the marine environment and highlight how these important habitats disappear in front of our eyes if increasing community efforts to better manage and restore coastal marine ecosystems are not supported by local & central government and residents alike.

Seaweed Forests of Wellington

Large brown kelp species dominate the rocky reefs along Wellington’s coastline and provide shelter, habitat and food and act as natural shore protection.

Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) is particularly visible with fronds reaching up from the seafloor and floating along on the surface. 

Volunteers monitor seaweeds along Wellington’s Miramar Peninsula since 2016. Read more about the giant kelp monitoring project and download project reports

Project Baseline Wellington – Monitoring Giant Kelp is a Citizen Science Project by the Wellington Underwater Club with Project Baseline.

Area Covered Time series

Kina Monitoring

Kina are a natural part and thought-after species in seaweed habitats. Healthy ecosystems can sustain a large number of kina. In the absence of kina predators the natural balance tips and kina quickly graze off kelp forests down to barren rock. Read more about Wellington’s kina population and how volunteers document the impact of kina grazing here!

Seaweed Outreach, Education & Regeneration

We started our outreach on seaweed with the seaweed mural at the Whairepo lagoon and a community seaweed snorkel at Kau Bay in 2018.

Our volunteers also share their insights with school kids through the Mountains to Sea Wellington Trust Seaweed Action Project & Love Rimurimu Education Programme. Curriculum ready educational material is available on the Love Rimurimu – an ocean of potential for seaweed page on the Science Learning Hub.

We are excited to see community-led seaweed regeneration in Wellington harbour. The Love Rimurimu Restoration project is working with seaweed farmers & scientists to grow seaweeds, builds understanding of the importance of seaweeds with the community and advocates for a healthier marine environment so replanted seaweeds can survive in the harbour. Head to the Love Rimurimu Restoration project website and support seaweed regeneration by attending events, sharing updates and supporting fundraising campaigns.