Ready to attack or challenge in a forceful way.

Sacks of air that connects to an animal's lungs. Gannets use them to protect them from being hurt when they dive into the water.

An organism that grows on water or damp surfaces. Algae can been so tiny you can’t see them or as big as kelp which can grow over 30 metres long! Algae can be green, brown, or red. They use sunlight to produce oxygen, like plants, and play a very important role in the ocean food chain.

A large open area surrounded by sloping hills or seats. Often a place where games or shows take place.

A single fin on the bottom of a fish behind its anus (butthole!).

When something happens to a living thing that causes changes in their body (genes) and can be passed on to their children.

A continent (piece of land) that surrounds the South Pole which is covered by a thick ice cap.

An antenna, or hihi in Māori, is a thin feeler that sticks out of the head of an insect, crab, etc. It is used to sense things such as touch, air motion, vibration (sound), smell, or taste.

An animal which no other creatures eat, meaning it is at the top of the food chain/web.

Aristotle was a man who lived long ago who is called by some people 'the greatest thinker of all time'. He had a lot of ideas and collected knowledge which he wrote down in books. His work has influenced a lot of what we think and believe in the world today.

A protective covering used to keep something safe from harm.

A tube that carries blood from our heart to the rest of our body. Arteries are important because the blood they carry brings oxygen to the rest of the body and keeps us alive!


A group of fish will work together to form a tightly packed circle called a bait ball when they are threatened by animals that want to eat them!

A filtering system that baleen whales have inside their mouths. When the whale opens its mouth in the ocean it takes in water. The whale then pushes the water through the baleen causing ocean animals such as krill and plankton to get stuck in the baleen so they can be eaten by the whale.

A whale that has a ‘baleen’ which they use to filter plankton and krill from the water.

A ban is an official rule that says something is not allowed to be done.

A sharp object or spike which is especially difficult to remove.

An animal with an outer shell which attaches itself to a surface such as a rock, and feeds by filtering food out of the water using its feathery legs.

A body of water that is partly surrounded by land. Water in a bay is generally calmer than water further out to sea which is not protected by land.

A dolphin’s pointy mouth is usually called a 'snout' but can also be called a beak. A beak is also the name for a bird's projecting jaws.

The name for a kelp leaf.

The nostril of a whale or dolphin which is on the top of its head. They use it to breathe air.

The fat of sea mammals, especially whales and seals.

The blue cod, or rawaru / pakirikiri in Māori, is a medium-sized fish that is commercially harvested (caught and sold for eating) in New Zealand. It is only found around New Zealands rocky coasts. Its colouring can be blue-green, blue-black, or a blotchy brown, with white around it's belly.

A small fish with electric blue colouring that is found in New Zealand, Australia, and the Kermadec Islands. It eats mostly plankton.

A relatively small, grey dolphin with a short beak that lives in warm waters near land.

When animals mate and produce babies together.

A type of shark which is also called the copper shark or narrowtooth shark and is found in warmer waters.

A large, slender baleen whale that lives in the warm seas of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. It is dark grey above and white below and has three ridges that run from the snout to the blowholes.

When you are able to float easily in the water then you are 'buoyant.'

A fish or other marine species that is caught accidentially while fishing for something else. For example dolphin or turtle being caught in nets meant to catch only fish; or too young or too small fish caught in nets that were meant to catch only larger fish.


A young bovine animal such as a cow, whale, or dolphin.

The way that some animals hide by blending into their surroundings.

A layer of something (such as branches and leaves in a forest) which spread out and cover an area.

A bony case or covering on the back of an animal such as a turtle or crab.

An animal that can survive eating only meat.

A carpet shark, or pekapeka in Māori, is a small shark who lives in shallow waters and whose skin resembles a patterned carpet.

Tough, flexible tissue that can support the body instead of bone. For example, humans have cartilage in our nose and ears. A 'cartilaginous' animal such as a stingray or shark has cartilage inside instead of bone.

When we use the position of the sun, moon and stars to find our way somewhere.

Any whale, dolphin or porpoise.

A heavy, colourless gas which comes out when we breathe. Our lungs absorb oxygen from the air when we breathe, and then we exhale out CO2 as a waste product. CO2 is also used in soft drinks to make them bubbly!

The land near a sea shore (where the land meets the sea).

A very bright blue colour.

Cold-blooded animals (like frogs and fish) have a body temperature that changes when the outside temperature changes. If it gets hotter outside of their body, they get hotter as well. And when it's colder, they get colder too.

When several individual organisms (creatures) live together closely, especially if they are of the same species or type.

The management and protection of resources and life on Earth.

To protect something from harm.

When we eat or drink something, we consume it. The word consume is also used when we buy something, or when something is destroyed e.g. Consumed by fire.

A ship designed to carry items stored in containers across the sea.

Animals who work cooperatively work together towards a common goal (teamwork!).

Sea animals that stay in one place their whole life. Some coral produce a colourful skeleton (which is also called coral) that will remain after they die. Coral are often found grouped in large areas called coral reefs, and they are related to sea anemones and jellyfish.

An adaptation that helps animals camouflage or hide. The animal’s colour is darker on the top and lighter on the bottom, which helps them blend into the background.

Crayfish, or kōura in Māori, are also called Spiny Rock Lobster. They are a creature with long antennae, no claws, and a hard 'exoskeleton' or shell which they need to cast off in order to grow bigger. In some areas it is customary for Māori to make sure that the kōura has all of it's limbs when taken. Why? If a kōura loses a leg or antenna when it is taken, other kōura might see that as a reason to leave the area!

A narrow opening caused by a crack or split. E.g. a crack in a rock.

When a creature is endangered there is a chance that it will become extinct - this means that there will be no more of these creatures alive on earth if we are not careful. Some animals are in more danger than others. To keep track of this risk, scientists have use different labels for different creatures. These are: 1. critically endangered - creature has an extremely high risk of becoming extinct 2. Endangered - creature is likely to become extinct 3) vulnerable - creature is likely to become endangered if nothing changes.

A large sea animal. The crown-of-thorns starfish is one of the largest sea stars in the world. It feeds on coral, and got it's name from the thorny spines (spikes) that cover it.

To travel smoothly at a medium speed.

A group of animals that includes crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. Crustaceans have an 'exoskeleton' which is a hard shell on the outside of their bodies. In order to grow they 'moult' or crawl out of their old shell and grow a new one.

Something (such as a medicine) that stops disease and makes someone healthy again.

When a body of water or air moves in one direction, especially through another body of water or air which isn't moving as much. The ocean current is caused by a lot of different things, including the movement of the earth, the weather/wind, differences in temperature in different parts of the world, and the pull of the Sun and the Moon on the Earth.


The deeper parts of the ocean which are very far (out of sight) from land.

A unit for measuring temperature. 0 degrees Celsius (0°C) is when water freezes, and 100 degrees Celsius (100°C) is when water boils.

A sickness - a change in a living body that stops it from working normally (being healthy).

DNA are a secret code carried in all living beings which hold information about how each living thing will look and function. For example, DNA effect what colour eyes a person has, and how their lungs work.

A clear bubble of plastic or glass that keeps a camera and lens dry underwater. The round shape allows the lens to see more left and right, and also makes the dome very strong so it doesn't break from the water pressure when diving.

The fin on the back of a fish or whale. For example, the triangular fin on the back of a shark or dolphin, or the fins that stick up on the back of a fish. A fish can have up to three dorsal fins. The dorsal fin helps the animal with sudden turns and stops, and prevents them from rolling.

An aircraft that doesn't have a pilot which is operated by remote control.


The eagle ray, or whai keo in Māori, is a large, diamond-shaped ocean creature with long pointed pectoral fins, a long tail, and a distinct head.

Sound travels into your ear to reach your eardrum. The eardrum is a thin flap of skin that is stretched tight like a drum. This drum vibrates when sound hits it, and the vibrations are sent further into your ear to reach your brain.

Echolocation is a process for locating distant objects by sending out sound waves which are then reflected back to the sender.

A scientist who studies how different creatures interact with each other and with their environment.

A group of plants, animals and other living things that live in the same place and help each other to survive.

The casing around the egg of some sharks and skates. Also known as a mermaids purse.

A special sense that sharks and rays have that allows them to feel electrical fields (e.g. animal heart beats) within the water.

A large marine fish with a trunk-like snout.

An endangered species is a type of animal that is seriously at risk of dying out.

Found only in one particular country. Species that are endemic to New Zealand are only found in New Zealand.

The act of being tangled in something e.g. a fishing net.

A disaster to our natural environment caused by human activity. This is different from a natural disaster, such as a flood, earthquake, or hurricane.

When changes in a group of the same species happens over may years. These changes can be passed on from generation to generation.

An ocean area that is looked after by a particular country.

A hard covering that supports and protects the bodies of some animals. The word means 'outside skeleton.' Many animals that don't have backbones inside their bodies like we do have have exoskeletons instead.

A boat that is being used to take a group of people on a particular 'expedition' or journey.

A person who knows a lot about a particular topic.

If a creature becomes extinct, then there are no more of this creature alive on earth.

Extinction of an animal or plant happens when there are no more of them alive anywhere in the world.


The 'false killer whale' is the fourth-largest dolphin on Earth. It lives in temperate and tropical waters throughout the world, and looks similar to the killer whale (orca).

A cable made up of glass threads that can be used to move information (e.g. a sound or a picture) very quickly from one place to another. This information travels through the fibers in the form of light.

An animal that feeds by sucking in water and filtering it to take out anything that can be eaten.

The tail of a dolphin or whale which moves up and down like a paddle to push the animal through the water. In some whale species, flukes are so unique that scientists use them like fingerprints to tell whales apart. Whales can use their flukes to kick food into their mouths, and flukes can also be used to control the body temperature (by changing blood flow or releasing heat).

A food chain shows how each living thing gets food and how nutrients and energy are passed from creature to creature. Food chains start with plant life and end with animal life.

A form of underwater diving that requires a diver to hold their breath underwater without the help of any gear (e.g. scuba equipment) to help them breathe.

Leaves that are long and divided up into different shapes. The fronds of kelps are often ribbon shaped.

A seal with two layers of fur that lives around the coasts of the Pacific and southern oceans. The male is much larger than the female.


A type of requiem shark found worldwide. The shark likes living on clear reefs around islands and The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has defined this shark as near threatened.

A gannet, or tākapu in Māori, is a large white bird with a yellow head and black tips on its wings. Gannets hunt fish by diving into the sea from above and chasing the fish underwater.

When we talk about gender we are talking about whether something is male (a man) or female (a woman).

The part of a fish that helps them breathe underwater. Fish force water through their gills, and use them to get oxygen out of the water so they can breathe.

The process that causes the surface temperature of the Earth to become warmer. This change is widely believed to be caused by 'the greenhouse effect,' which results from human pollution (e.g. exhaust from cars).

Good luck leading to someting positive happening.

A type of animal which feeds on plants (e.g. grasses or algae).

A great white shark, or mangō taniwha in Māori is a large shark that lives in warm seas. The great white is known for its size, and can grow up to 6.1 metres in length. It became famous as the shark in the movie ‘Jaws,’ but it doesn’t naturally eat humans. It is more likely to snack on fish, dolphins, seals, and sea turtles instead.

A turtle that lives in tropical waters. It has a brown shell and got it's name because of the layer of green fat under it's skin. Green turtles used to be hunted for food and made into soup! Now, a lot more effort is made to preserve these beautiful creatures since there are not many of them left. Green turtles help maintain balance in the ocean ecosystem by eating the sea grass beds and keeping them at a healthy thickness.


A habitat is the place or environment where a plant or animal naturally lives. A habitat provides food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young. For example a coral reef or a sandy beach.

Māori for goodbye.

A place on the coast where ships can safely anchor because it is protected from rough water, wind, and sea currents.

When you harvest something you pick or gather it up. Usually, we use the word harvest to talk about something we have planted e.g. a crop of wheat in a field.

Taking food to be eaten. Usually harvesting takes place at a certain time of year, when that food is ripe or able to be taken without negative effects on an ecosystem.

A small sea turtle that lives in tropical (warm) waters. It has a hooked jaw (like a hawk) and overlapping plates on it's shell.

A special type of dolphin only found in New Zealand. These small grey dolphins have black and white markings and a round dorsal (back) fin. There are only about 10,000 Hector's dolphins left in the world, and it is important that we take care of these special

An animal that can survive by only eating plants.

A crustacean (an animal with a hard outer shell like a crab or lobster) which has a soft, spiral body. The hermit crabs has a shell which it takes from other sea animals. As the crab gets bigger it will creep out of it's old shell and find a bigger one to use. Hermit crabs spend a lot of time on land, but they have gills like a fish.

The part that anchors kelp into place.

The Hawaiian name for green sea turtle that lives in Hawaii. The Honu is a symbol of good luck. Some believe them to be guardian spirits who will look after children playing in the sea.

A large whale with long flippers which is known for arching or humping its back when it dives under the water. Humpback whales usually swim in groups called pods, and are known for their magical whale-song which they use to communicate with each other. They live near the coast (land) and feed on tiny shrimp-like krill, plankton and small fish.

A person or animal who hunts other animals for food or sport.

A system that works/is moved by a fluid.


Something which can be used to uniquely identify a particular person or thing.

A material that is used to stop heat, sound, or electricity from moving from one place to another.


A fish that lives in Australian and New Zealand waters, which has a yellow tail fin.

A free-floating ocean creature with a jelly-like body. Is usually see-through, round or bell-shaped, and has stinging tentacles (arms) around the edge of its body.

A type of fish that lives along the coast. It is a greeny-yellow colour, has a large dark spot on its side which it uses to confuse prey, and long spines or spikes.

A young animal of a species.


A large fish that lives in Australian and New Zealand coastal waters. It is greenish grey to silvery underneath and spotted with brown. Kahawai is a Māori name meaning 'brave' or strong' (kaha) + 'water' (wai), which refers to how the kahawai will jump and fight when caught.

A sealskin cloak worn by Māori people in the past.

Tangata whenua (people of the land) who have been given responsibility to protect and look after an area’s resources. They act to look after ecosystems by looking at them as a whole, and recognize that all things are interconnected.

A way of thinking about and looking after the environment in order to help maintain the balance of everything within it. It can be loosely translated into English as protection or guardianship.

Māori for prayer.

A large, brown, seaweed that lives in cold water and provides a habitat for many other sea creatures.

A strong, natural protein. Keratin is the main substance that forms hair, nails, horns, hoofs, and some animal shells (for example, the shell of the green turtle).

Killer whale is another name for Orca. Orca, or maki and kākahi in Māori, are large black and white 'toothed whales' which are actually the largest member of the dolphin family.

A standard measurement of weight that is equal to a cubic decimeter of water. A 1litre bottle of fizzy drink weighs about as much as a kilogram. A watermelon or pineapple also weighs about as much. The short form of writing kilogram is kg.

A unit of length that is equal to 1000 metres. It would take an adult about 10 minutes to walk one whole kilometre.

Kina, or sea urchins, are a small sea creature the lives in shallow water. They have a round shell which is covered in sharp needle-like spines. Kina are eaten by crayfish, as well as humans, and they like to eat seaweed or kelp.

When large numbers of kina eat all the kelp in an area of the ocean.

New Zealanders often talk about themselves as being kiwis. A kiwi is a flightless bird found in New Zealand, and also refers to a type of fruit (kiwi fruit).


An animal that spends most of their time on land.

A clear piece of plastic, glass, or other see-through material that changes the direction of light. This is called focusing, and without a lens, everything would look blurry. For cameras you can buy lenses with different magnification to make the world look bigger or smaller.

A sea turtle with a reddish-brown shell and a very large head which lives mostly in warm seas. It is an endangered species, which means it is a type of turtle that is in danger of dying out if we are not careful.

Lungs are the major organs that help with breathing. When you breathe in, the lungs in your chest lungs fill with air. One of the major jobs of the lungs is to filter a special gas called oxygen out of the air and deliver it to your blood so it can help your body keep working and stay alive.


Also is known as the blue pointer or bonito shark, the mako shark is one of the fastest sharks in the ocean. It can swim up to 96 kilometres per hour - as fast as a car driving on the motorway! It can be found all over the world in temperate (cold and warm) waters, including New Zealand.

An animal (such as a human) that grows fur or hair from out of its skin. The females provide milk to feed their young who are usually born live.

Relating to or found in the ocean.

A type of marine protected area (MPA) – a part of the ocean where we've set limits (rules) around what humans can do there. Often there are some places set aside for fishing and other areas where fishing is not allowed at all. This is to protect the creatures and plants that live in that part of the ocean. The largest marine park in the world is the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia.

An area that is legally protected from activities that remove plants/animals or alter their habitat, unless it is being done for scientific purposes. Swimming, boating, and scuba diving are usually allowed in marine reserves, but not activities such as fishing, dredging, or mining.

Marlin, or takaketonga in Māori, are a large fish which lives in warm seas, and which many fishermen catch for sport. It has a streamlined body and a long, pointed, snout or bill.

When two animals come together to breed (make babies)

Found in the forehead of dolphins and whales, the melon is a mass of living tissue that is very important for their communication and finding prey using echolocation.

Too small to be seen with the eye, but large enough to be seen under a microscope (a useful tool that makes tiny things appear bigger).

When an animal, such as a bird or turtle moves from one area or habitat to another at different times of year (depending on the seasons).

A fish that looks like an eel. It spends most of its time hidden in caves and rock crevices at the bottom of the ocean, with only its head stuck out. It usually comes out at night, and eats things like fish, octupuses, squid, and crabs.

A dark blue, black, or brown shellfish that has two long oval shells. You will find them on the rocky shore, clumped together and attached to rocks. Mussels are ‘filter feeders’ that play an important role in the health of our oceans.


A nocturnal animal is active at night and sleeps during the day.

A substance in food that is needed for healthy growth and development (living/surviving).


At a distance from the seashore, but still in sight of land.

An omnivore is an animal that can eat both other animals or plants to survive.

The part of the ocean that is out of sight of land. Most of the ocean is open ocean, but it is often referred to as the 'marine desert' because there is a lot less life living there than in shallow seas.

Orca, or maki and kākahi in Māori, are also known as ‘killer whale.' They are a large black and white 'toothed whales' that are actually the largest member of the dolphin family. Orca are apex predators, which means no other animal in the sea hunts and eats them. They have a large dorsal (back) fin and live in groups that hunt seals, fish, and penguin together. They can be found all over the world, including in New Zealand waters.

An element found in the air that is necessary for life.


An animal or plant that survives by taking advantage of another animal or plant. Parasites may harm their victims, but they do not usually kill them.

Pāua is the Māori name for a species of large sea snail. Pāua are a shellfish whose soft flesh can be eaten. The inside of their shell is beautifully rainbow-coloured, and often used to create jewellery. Pāua grow larger in the cool waters of the South Island than they do in the north. In New Zealand, we strictly limit how many pāua can be taken from the ocean by people (10 per day per person) or companies.

The pair of fins on each side, just behind a fish's head. Pectoral fins help to control an animals direction while moving in the water.

The process of making energy from sunlight. Plants absorb the sun’s rays and store that energy as sugar molecules, then use the energy to grow.

Tiny creatures that live in the top layer of the ocean, making food out of the sun’s rays. They are very important because they form the bottom of the food chain. Other animals such as whales, shrimp, snails, and jellyfish eat them.

A small silver fish which comes from the herring family.

A shellfish with a long white oval shell.

Tiny living things (organisms) that drift and float in water. Plankton can be plants, animals, or other types of organism. They are an important source of food for large sea animals such as fish and whales.

The bottom half of a turtles shell. The plastron is made up of the turtles bones, which are fused (joined) together.

Someone that steals from another.

A pod, or kauika in Māori, is a small group or school of marine animals, such as whales or dolphins.

Containers that Māori people used to make out of the bull kelp plant. Pōhā were used to store food such as tītī (muttonbird) chicks.

The contamination (making less pure) of air, water, or soil due to harmful substances, usually as a result of human activities. There are different types of pollution, for example: chemical pollution, light pollution, or noise pollution.

Someone who is Polynesian has a family that comes from Polynesia. Polynesia is a region in the Pacific Ocean made up of more than 1,000 islands, and includes many diverse countries such as Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, and Niue.

The group of people or animals living in a certain country, city, or place. This is sometimes stated as a number e.g. the population of New Zealand in 2016 was 4.6 million people.

A small toothed whale that looks similar to a dolphin. It has teeth and a rounded snout.

An animal (E.g. a shark, dolphin, or human) that naturally hunts and eats other animals.

When we preserve something we protect it from loss or danger. When we preserve food we do things to stop it from going bad so that we can eat it at a later date.

An animal that is hunted and killed by other animals for food.

When a creature is protected by law you are not allowed to collect or hunt it.

A tropical fish that can puff itself up with air or water when it feels threatened. Most puffer fish are poisonous (if you ate them you would get sick or die). Also called blowfish.

A prickly fish that puffs itself up to scare away predators by swallowing water or air. It is often poisonous.

The young of certain animals such as sharks, seals, and dogs.


A fish with a flattened diamond-shaped body, and a long, poisonous, barbed spine at the base of it's tail.

A long line of jagged rock, coral, or sand just above or below the surface of the ocean. An artificial reef is when a human-made structure creates a reef on the sea floor.

Reef sharks live in tropical (warm) waters near coral reefs. They are apex predators, which means they sit at the top of the food chain, and are therefore very important to the health of reef ecosystems as a whole.

A rocky shore is the area where the sea tide moves up and down, exposing solid rock when the tide is out and covering it with water when it is in. Rocky shores are home to many different animals such as shellfish, birds, sea anemones, and crabs.

A beak-like projection on an animal's head.

An underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) is a type of robot that helps us explore the underwater world. It has a tether (cable) which allows a human driver to sit on the shore, in a boat, or a submarine bubble and see what the robot 'sees' using a display, and move the robot about using remote controls.


Free floating ocean creatures that look very similar to jellyfish.

A small crustacean that hops like a flea when disturbed. Usually lives amoung seaweed on ocean beaches.

A special piece of tracking equipment that is attached to a sea animal so that we can track where it is. Each time the creature comes up to the surface of the ocean, the tracker sends a message to a satellite floating in space. Scientists then recieve a message telling them the location of the creature, which they can mark on a map.

Small, thin plates on the outer skin of fish and reptiles. They are usually overlapping and help protect them.

A group of fish that swim together in the same direction.

Knowledge about the natural world based on experiments and observation. Science is when we study the natural world looking for general laws (rules) about how the world works.

A person who is studying one of the sciences or has expert knowledge about it. For example, they might be studying the science of biology (the study of living things), chemistry (the study of what everything is made of and how it works) or geology (the study of rocks in the Earth's crust).

Technology that helps a diver swim and breathe underwater. One or two tanks of compressed (squashed) air are connected by a hose to the divers mouthpiece, and the tanks are strapped to the divers back.

An animal that lives in the ocean. Sea cucumbers are a type of echinoderm (like sea urchins and starfish) because they have bumpy skin. They have long, soft bodies and can be black, brown, blue, green, or red. They have tube feet which they use to move around, and feed on tiny particles they find ont he ocean floor.

A seal that lives in the Pacific ocean. Sea lions and fur seals are both mammals, but sea lions are usually larger than fur seals and don't have thick underfur. Another way to tell the difference between them is that sea lions have ear flaps (ears) on the side of their heads, while fur seals don't.

Sea stars are animals that live in all the world's oceans. They are also known as starfish - even though they are not fish! Fish have a backbone, but sea stars don't. Sea stars can be brown, red, orange, pink, or other colors, and they have five arms, which makes them look like a star.

Sea urchins (aslo known as sea eggs) are an animal that lives on the sea floor that looks just liked a rolled up hedgehog! They have 5 sections to their bodies, and are closely related to starfish. Kina are a type of sea urchin that live in New Zealand.

A plant similar to grass that grows in shallow waters close to land. Seagrasses can grow into huge underwater meadows. They provide a place for young fish and other small sea creatures to live and are an important source of food for larger animals like turtles.

Large algae that grow in the sea or on rocks on the sea shore. Seaweed can be red, brown, or green, and you will often find it washed up on the sea shore.

Any device that recieves a signal (e.g. heat, pressure, light, motion) and responds.

When an animal sheds its skin a top layer of dead skin comes off them, leaving a new layer underneath.

Animals that live in water and have a hard shell. E.g. Pipis, cockles, and mussels

A shipwreck, or paeārautanga in Māori, is a ship that has been wrecked. For example, by sinking to the bottom of the ocean, or by getting stuck on land.

Plastic items that are only used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. E.g. Plastic bags, water bottles, food packaging, plastic knives and forks, and straws.

A sharp-toothed, reddish fish found around Australia and New Zealand. It is a popular recreational fish (lots of fisherman like to fish for snapper for fun), and commonly eaten for dinner in New Zealand (fish and chips anyone?)

We use a snorkel (a tube that allows us to breathe while we are under the water) to snorkel (swim underwater using this tube).

Sonar is a system for finding objects under water. It sends out pulses of sound towards the object and measures them after they hit the object and return.

Someone who dives underwater and uses a spear (a long stick with a sharp tip at the end) to catch fish.

A species is a group of life forms that are similar enough that they can create babies together that are also able to create babies. Wolves and dogs are from the same species, but dogs and cats are not.

A huge whale with a large head that has a section in it which contains oil. Sperm whales used to be hunted for this oil, which was used to make candles and ointments (e.g. medicine). Sperm whales can hold their breath for up to an hour, and feed on squid, octopus, and fish deep in the ocean.

There are two meanings of the word spine: 1. The backbone of a creature that extends from the bottom of their head/skull all the way down their back. And 2. a stiff, pointed, part that sticks out from a creature. E.g. the pointy spines of a fish or kina.

There are two meanings for spiracle: 1. An opening which allows a fish to breathe. 2. The part of a shark egg case which attaches the egg to something so it doesn't float away.

A sponge, or kōpūpūtai in Māori, is a simple animal with many cells, but no mouth, muscles, heart or brain. It grows in one spot like most plants do, and can’t move from place to place like most other animals. It draws in water to feed and breathe, and feeds mostly on bacteria and other tiny creatures.

A long, fast sea creature with eight arms and two long tentacles. Most squid can change the colour of their skin so that they can blend into the background and avoid being eaten by dolphins!

Describes a group of rays that have one or more sharp, barbed spines near the base of their tail which they use to sting. Rays have a flat, diamond-shaped body and feed on the bottom of the ocean floor.

The stem that grows out of the base of a kelp plant. Fronds grow out of the stipe.

A plan or way of acting that helps to get an end goal, i.e. a way of hunting that helps a predator to catch a fish

The subtropics are a part of the world which has a particular climate (type of weather, temperature ...). They lie bewteen the warmer 'tropics' and cooler 'temperate' zones.

The ocean sunfish, or Rātāhuihui in Māori, is the heaviest known bony fish in the world with adults weighing between 247 and 1,000 kg. Another name for sunfish is Mola mola.

When groups of dolphins (called pods) join together for a short time to hunt when there is a lot of food around. Super pods can contain hundreds or thousands of dolphins at a time!

A very large, fast, and powerful computer. Used especially for scientific computations.

The swim bladder is an internal organ that helps some fish float in the same place despite changes in the water around them. This air-filled sac also allows them to go up or down without having to waste energy swimming.


Taste buds are little sensory organs found the tongue that allow us to experience when things taste sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. As humans, we each have about 10,000 taste buds on our tongues!

Temperature is how hot or cold something is when measured with a thermometre. Temperature in New Zealand is measured in Celsius.

A part of human or animal bodies that connects muscle to bone. E.g. the achilles tendon at the back of your ankle. This connective tissue is white and 'fibrous' (made up of many little strings or fibres)

Any species (plants, animals, fungi, etc.) that there are very few of, and which might die out in the near future.

An area affected by the sea tide. The tide is the rising and falling of the sea. This usually happens twice a day in a particular area of the sea shore, and is caused by the attraction of the moon and sun as they move around the earth.

When the surface of the ocean rises and falls twice a day because of the movement/attraction of the sun and the moon.

A measurement of weight that is equal to 1,000 kilograms. It would take about 12-15 regular adults to weigh as much as a tonne!

A poison that is made within the living cells of a creature or organism.

Beliefs or customs that are handed down from one generation to the next. Traditions are the things that we do/believe because our parents and grandparents did in the past, and we have been taught to do/believe them as well.

When words from one language are used in another they sometimes have to be changed to fit the rules of the new language.

A silver fish that is common around parts of the North Island and the top half of the South Island of New Zealand. You can usually find it around depths of 80 metres where it eats mostly smaller fishes, and it can live for up to 45 years!

The triplefin is a small fish found around the coast of New Zealand. They live up to a depth of 15 metres, and grow between 4-8 centimetres. They are commonly found in rock pools near the shore.

Something tropical lives in the tropics – the middle part of the earth either side of the equator.

A very large ocean wave which is usually caused by a volcanic eruption, undersea earthquake, or landslide. It can travel hundreds of kilometres over the open sea and cause a lot of damage when it hits land. Also called a tidal wave.

Like a tube. Long, round, and hollow.


Ultimate can mean the furthest, highest, or most extreme e.g. The 'ultimate predator' is the best or most amazing predator. Ultimate can also mean the last or ending one of something e.g. My ultimate goal is to become the Prime Minister of New Zealand!

One of a kind. There is no other like it.

When deep, cold water rises to the surface to replace warmer surface water which is blown by the wind. This cold water is usually rich in nutrients.


When something vibrates it moves back and forth or from side to side very quickly.

Your vocal cords are the part of your throat that vibrates when you speak. Noise is produced when air from the lungs causes two pairs of chords to vibrate (move).

Virtual Reality (VR) technology can help us experience something that isn't actually around us at the time. For example, you can experience being underwater without even getting wet by putting on a VR headset. Through the headset goggles you can watch a video of the underwater environment, and move your head around to see what is 'behind you' just as if you were under the water!

Something vulnerable is something that is in danger or at risk of being hurt. A vulnerable species is a type of animal or plant that might die out unless we take special care to help them survive. Species often become vulnerable when their habitat (home) is destroyed. The group that keeps a list of all the vulnerable species in the world is called the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Mammals (like humans, dolphins, and seals) have a body temperature that usually stays the same, even when it's colder or hotter outside.

A piece of clothing made of rubber which helps swimmers and divers keep their bodies warm when in the water.

A very large tropical shark which usually swims close to the surface. It is the largest known fish and feeds on tiny floating animals called plankton.


A group of plankton that feed on phytoplankton. Most zooplankton are so tiny they are only visible through a microscope but some are larger, such as jellyfish.