Whale Song will provide an exciting and educational perspective with an immersive and diverse range of learning and interactive teachings, both during the construction stage of the sculpture and as a finished work of art.
During the construction, we would like to house an education centre, where parents, teachers and pupils can visit, marvel at these magnificent creatures being manufactured for a world-class sculpture, but also be informed of why it is important to understand what the sculpture ‘Whale Song’ stands for.
The connection between whales and Kapiti
Whales and Kapiti have significant historic connections. With multiple whaling stations both on Kapiti Island and the mainland, Humpback whales, along with Southern Right whales were slaughtered by intensive whaling activities based around Cook Strait and on Kapiti Island during past centuries.
According to DOC’s website, an original population of approximately 10,000 Humpbacks at the beginning of the last century was at one stage reduced to less than 5% of the original population, or an estimated 250-500 whales.
Humpbacks were given total protection from commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1966 and have an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status of Vulnerable. New Zealand is a founding member of the IWC and is known for being a strong advocate for the protection of whales.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) now undertakes a yearly survey of the number of whales in Cook Straight and figures show that the Humpback whale numbers are on a steady increase. In 2010, over 40 Humpbacks were sighted migrating through this region. These days the biggest risks to whales are from entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships, and ingesting land-based rubbish transferred from land via our very own streams and rivers.
Every drain leads to the sea, reminding us that the small actions we take can have a big impact on the environment, especially for protecting marine life such as whales. This highlights the crucial importance of marine conservation, to ensure the health of our oceans and the creatures that inhabit them.
A new report describes the impact man is having on nature as a “MIND-BLOWING crisis”.
The Living Planet Report from the Worldwide Fund for Nature 2018 said the global populations of mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians have fallen by 60% between 1970 and 2014.
The report also said "Earth is losing biodiversity at a rate seen only during mass extinctions."
The importance of marine conservation, fostering empathy and encouraging exploration of their environment
The message of ‘The importance of marine conservation’ will carry on well past the construction stage, to the visitor's centre at the finished sculpture where the message will be no different and the magnificent sculpture itself stands as a testament to the preservation of all species.
For children, their world is quite small; home, school, the backyard, the playground.
At this stage, it is appropriate to foster empathy and encourage exploration of their environment.
As their world expands their concern and interests also expand. This is when it is appropriate to introduce larger-scale environmental issues and ways to take action, and build up one’s belief that they can make a difference.
Building awareness through experience and interaction
Awareness through three dimensional displays, interactive programs, actual physical evolvement and tactile experience through ocean sanctuary’s and marine reserves, accompanied with a complex interactive web support system to keep the classroom, teacher and pupil involved and contributing.
Influencing the future stewards of our planet
Birds and ocean marine life are caught up in great riffs of flotsam and jetsam, oil spills and cast away fishing nets that destroy the fine balance of the food chain, and eventually end up washed up on our shorelines. Plastics are a key issue along with deforestation, erosion and pollution.
Cell phones, pens, toothbrushes, buttons, shopping bags and shoes all contain plastic in some form. Plastic often seems unavoidable in our everyday lives, and it can have consequences reaching beyond what we see in our immediate area. Many plastic items being produced all over the world end up in our oceans and waterways, becoming marine debris.
Hundreds of thousands of tons of plastics are now floating in our oceans and on our shorelines.
More often we are reading sad stories of emaciated whales been washed up with a belly full of plastic, entanglement of birds and sea life and or loss of important habitat through oil spills.
Shipping, aircraft and motor vehicles not only deposit huge waste into the atmosphere, but ships also causes noise pollution disrupting the whales and other finned mammals communication channels.
Although marine debris and pollution is a complex, global issue, there are steps we can take to mitigate the problem, such as taking individual action and or influencing the knowledge of our children.
Dedicated to educating the children of New Zealand
and the world
Most relevant is stimulating the consciousness through education, which can halt plastic pollution at its source. Marine education provides children with awareness about the issues, knowledge of appropriate actions and the motivation and pro-active involvement that can make a difference.
We are excited to welcome the sculpture Whale Song, dedicated to educating children of New Zealand and the World about marine and environmental conservation to save our planet.
New Zealand Resources
NZ Department of Conservation
Protecting our marine world - Inquiry unit | Levels: 1-4: Use this resource to learn how to protect our unique marine environment.
New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade, Manatū Aorere - Protecting whales.
NIWA - Images and research from NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, a Crown Research Institute with the mission to conduct leading environmental science to enable the sustainable management of natural resources for New Zealand and the planet.
Project Jonah - Educational visits, resources, and useful facts.
Other online resource and reference links
Whale Identification Guide – what is that whale we can see?? (downloadable poster (pdf))
Marine Mammals and Other Marine Life