“Just look at the world around you, right here on the ocean floor, such wonderful things surround you, what more is you lookin’ for?” – Sebastian, The Little Mermaid
Diving deep below the Ocean’s waves, the children of Bayswater Primary School, swam through a school of trevally, raced with dolphins, and explored the depths of the Hauraki Gulf. While, WWF-New Zealand and BLAKE (formerly known as the Sir Peter Blake Trust) couldn’t bring the students of Bayswater to the ocean, they are working together to bring the Ocean to them. BLAKE selected Bayswater School to celebrate this year’s World Oceans Day as it was Sir Peter Blake’s primary school.
The students were able to enjoy a totally immersive ocean experience through the BLAKE NZ-VR programme: a virtual reality experience with 360 degree views filmed by New Zealand Geographic and supported by WWF-New Zealand. Experiencing pristine marine environments as well as the damage done to the ecosystem allows children to see, first-hand, the majesty of our oceans and how important it is to protect and restore the seabed, the ocean and the lands around it.
The eco-tour emphasises our responsibilities, as citizens, to our lands and seas. WWF-New Zealand Ocean Programme Manager, Lucy Jacob, says “Our partnership with Blake and NZ Geographic provides a fantastic opportunity to bring the ocean to the people. Not only is this an incredible experience for the kids, but it helps build young ocean guardians who care about protecting our marine resources.”
These virtual explorations, connect Kiwis to parts of Aotearoa to which they may not have access, promotes understanding, engagement, and a deeper sense of kaitiakitanga over our natural world.
BLAKE Chief Executive James Gibson says, “The BLAKE NZ-VR programme aims to connect thousands of young Kiwis with the marine environment. Most young people have never experienced what’s under the surface of our ocean. Through virtual reality, we can take the ocean into the classroom.”
To learn more about BLAKE NZ-VR and how your school can benefit. Take a look at it here.
For images from the day please look here.