Jacob Radon guides the students around Arapawa Island.

Students at Kaikoura High School are getting hands on experience of the need to ensure the sustainability of seafood stocks

Debbie Hannan

Pau3 has run outreach activities with the school for the last five years as part of a re-seeding programme in their region.

 The programme, which has been running for the past 10 years, reached out to the school as part of its community engagement activities.

 The re-seeding extends from Akaroa Harbour to Motunau, the Nape Nape lagoons and north and south of Kaikoura.

 The juvenile paua are spawned, fertilised and hatched at Mike and Antonia Radon’s Arapawa Sea Farms in spring and grown for nine to 10 months to be returned to Pau3 for planting.

 The outreach with year 13 students at Kaikoura High School starts in early March with the students viewing the juveniles from the previous spring’s spawning. They then get involved in planting out mid-year and are given the opportunity to return in late October/ early November to observe the young paua in their habitat.

 The project aligns with an NCEA unit standard, providing the students with valuable credits.

A large aggregation of adult (110mm) paua in reseeded sites, likely to be from 2012 reseeding. Photo: Mark Taggart.

“The educational benefits are enormous – not only do our students get hands on experience in an industry that many never get the chance to experience, it also opens their eyes to different career opportunities, says Jo Fissenden, the school’s biology teacher and deputy principal.

“We love the fact that it provides a link to our own community and how people make a living. Having an understanding of how a whole system works is invaluable as classroom based abstract ideas rarely mean anything but having seen things happening and being part of the re-seeding gives the students more ownership.

 “This also means they are better equipped to educate others about why our fisheries operate the way they do.

 We really appreciate the support from the local paua guys and as the students can gain six Level 3 NCEA credits from the work they do, it is a large chunk of learning that has huge value to their year,” she says.

 Community engagement and awareness is the re-seeding programme’s main goal, explains Jason Ruawai of Pau3.

 “By increasing community awareness we may one day achieve another form of funding. At present the results of re-seeding juvenile paua from an enhancement point of view are unquantified. Achieving an annual budget is becoming increasingly difficult.

 “There’s a project running in Tory Channel that will provide more robust results. Our budget to re-seed juvenile paua is mainly on the basis of education and public awareness.”

 As well as working with school students, the programme is a platform to reach out to local iwi, Ruawai explains.

 “It would be good one day to see more organisations running similar programmes to educate kids. Aside from one day achieving more funding to re-seed, educating the kids has huge benefits within the community. It promotes all sorts of good practice with paua amongst friends and family.”