Certified student divers on marine environment programme

Wednesday July 15, 2020 Written by Published in Education
Ātui'anga ki te Tango senior programme reef survey team return from their first day of survey. Photo: Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau / 20071415. Ātui'anga ki te Tango senior programme reef survey team return from their first day of survey. Photo: Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau / 20071415.

Newly certified divers learn more about marine environment during school holiday programme. 

Students who picked scuba diving during a school holiday programme earlier in the year will get an opportunity to be part of a reef survey programme around Rarotonga.

Local environmental group Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau ran a certified scuba diving course for senior students from Rarotonga schools in January.

The reef survey conducted by local marine biologist Dr Teina Rongo will give these certified students the opportunity to utilise and practice their diving skills.  

Dr Rongo has been conducting reef surveys around Rarotonga and throughout the Cook Islands since the 1990s.

Students will be introduced to scientific survey techniques using self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) to help them gain some basic understanding of the marine environment.

Data obtained will be used by the relevant stakeholders to help monitor land-based activities and the management of Rarotonga’s marine resources. 

Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau’s Jackie Rongo said the July holiday programme would also include certifying eight new students.

The scuba diving certification programme is being held in collaboration with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and with support from Nia Tero. It is being delivered by local dive company Dive Rarotonga and Rongohiva. 

Jackie Rongo said the school holiday programme has been modified due to disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme which started on Monday will end with a mountain hike, depending on the weather, on Saturday. It aims to help students understand the Ridge to Reef initiative on the connections between land and sea.

Reef survey method

The survey team will revisit 10 established sites around Rarotonga that have been surveyed. Three 50 metre transects will be deployed at each site. Transects will be placed following a similar reef contour at a depth of 10m parallel to shore. The survey may not be completed during the holiday period and may extend into weekends during the school year for students that are available to assist.

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