The Kaikoura region has an amazing natural environment. We have the Seaward Kaikoura range, that gets up to 2,610 m (Mt. Manukau). Then, within just a few miles, we have the Kaikoura Canyon, an undersea canyon which plunges down to 1200 meters very near to our coastline. The currents that work within this canyon create a huge amount of upwelling, which brings nutrients to the surface that provide a substantial amount of food for marine organisms. As a result, we have a wide abundance and diversity of marine animals that are both residential and seasonal that we see here in Kaikoura.
Research has been conducted here by a wide array of universities and other institutions, and the KMCA would like to contribute information on the Kaikoura environment to the local and global scientific community.
We want to know answers to questions like:
- What is here?
- How much is here?
- How long is it here for?
- What affects their productivity and what can we do to keep the local marine system healthy?
We want involve the children in data collecting and producing results, which will allow them to understand more about what they are sampling for.
Examples of potential research:
- Rahui Project
- How many crayfish, paua, kina, mussels, and other species are in the Rahui compared with how many are outside the Rahui.
- Compare major and minor species of seaweed in the Rahui and outside the Rahui.
- Compare major and minor species of animals in the Rahui and outside the Rahui.
- This will give us a good indication of the health of the two systems - which will give us great ideas of what we need to be doing for the future that benefits the prosperity of our marine waters.
- This type of research could also be conducted on any further marine protected areas that are established in Te Tai o Marokura.
- Kaikoura Krill Project
- How much krill and other food sources (such as Munida gregaria) are in our waters at certain times of the year - when, for how long and how much?
- These are important questions as many marine animals depend on species like this as a food source.
- We get many different whale, bird and fish species feeding on this species as certain times of the year and knowing more about it might help our understanding of the marine visitors we get and when they come and for how long they stay.
We believe that by contributing to the research conducted in Kaikoura we can learn better how to protect it. We want to involve the local community as much as possible along the way, calling for volunteers to help with surveys, providing lectures on our research and displaying our results for the public to read.