It’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks. I keep thinking this trip can’t get any more wonderful. And then along comes the next adventure to prove me wrong.
Napier was certainly no exception. I was finally reunited with Raquelle of Algalita South Pacific fame and Tina Ngata of Para Kore and The Non-Plastic Maori fame, who I met at the fabulous Jack Johnson concert in Auckland. When they found out about my kaupapa / mission, they asked me to come join them for part of their Pure Tour of the North Island. So, I had been liaising with them for 6 weeks and was looking forward to start the Pure Tour adventure. Not only would I be joining Tina and Raquelle, but also Marcus and Anna, founders of the 5 Gyres Institute and the veritable royalty of ocean pollution research and action.
We were all set to speak at The National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier. I used to volunteer at the Zoological Society of London (aka London Zoo) and I find myself torn between 2 opposing mindsets when I think about zoos and aquariums. I don’t like the idea of captive animals, but I think there is a place for institutions that rescue and rehabilitate injured animals, are involved with conservation programmes and have the ability to educate the public, who mostly will never get to see these animals in their natural habitats. I was pleasantly surprised to see their penguin enclosure and meet some of their inhabitants, who had been rescued with various limbs or eyes and even the lower half of a beak missing. Sadly and predictably, plastic had a role to play in many of the injuries.
I was honoured to present to more than 60 local school children alongside Marcus, Anna, Tina and Raquelle.
In the evening we were lucky enough to give a presentation to the general public in the main hall, where marine animals swam around behind us as we presented. That doesn’t happen every day!
Great conversations were sparked as the community voiced their support for the cause. And it’s not everyone who’s allowed to take their bike into the walkway.
I would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved for the opportunity and honour of taking part in the Pure Tour. Not least of all for the chance to meet people like Lisa. Lisa heads up the Napier Boomerang bags team. Boomerang bags are reusable shopping bags that you can borrow from supermarkets for free when you forget yours, then you return it on your next visit. She has a growing team helping her, now including inmates at Napier Prison. In addition to helping the community, this offers prisoners the chance to learn new skills and boost their confidence and self esteem. Talk about a win win situation.
Thanks Napier, it’s been magical.