SAVE THE DATE! The YOUNG OCEAN EXPLORERS 21 Day Challenge is coming 15 Feb 2021 - 15 Mar 2021

Restoring Our Oceans

A guided inquiry exploring life in and around waterways in Aotearoa (awa/ roto/ moana - rivers/lakes/ocean) - looking at our connections to the waterways in our local environment and their connection to the ocean. Tamariki will be introduced to many amazing creatures and see how they can be part of helping our oceans and local waterways to thrive now and into the future.

Planning done for you - This guided inquiry walks you through the process step by step - you can follow the plan or pick and choose the bits that suit you and your tamariki. This year there will be a student site so that those with devices can self-direct their learning if you work that way. There will be 3 differentiated learning paths so that students (or kaiako/teachers) can choose the level that suits them.

FREE! Yes really!- All we ask is to hear your feedback once you have tried this. Feedback from our pilot programme in 2020, and our first challenge in 2021 has been invaluable for us to help build on ideas and guide our planning for future challenges. It also helps us when applying for funding. We work hard to get funding so that ALL tamariki have the opportunity to learn and care about our beautiful natural world in Aotearoa. Many of our unique natives in NZ are actually in the ocean!

New content - Updated to tie in with waterways in your local rohe/area (awa/rivers, roto/lakes, moana / ocean) and looking at links to the ocean. It will start with exploring your tamariki's connection to your local environment - focusing on the waterways. We have great new video content from around Aotearoa.

Curriculum links - This inquiry has many links to the new Aotearoa New Zealand Histories curriculum and is a great place to start. There are strong links with the science and education for sustainability curriculums. This integrated plan can be used to tie in aspects of maths (statistics) and literacy, the arts, health. It links te ao Māori and introduces tikanga and kupu along the way.

Empowering students - We are looking forward to sharing this learning journey with you as you guide tamariki to think about what is important to them, and to empower them to make a difference for your local environment. Part of the challenge involves being kaitiaki of your area, starting with each child picking up one (or more) pieces of rubbish each day. Last year a collective group of over 1100 classes logged a total of more than 132,000 pieces of rubbish picked up - and not everyone entered their data. Let’s see if we can make even more impact this year! It is empowering for students to see that their small actions combined can make a big difference. The culminating project allows tamariki to share their ideas of kaitiakitanga with others.

“… thanks so much for the 21 Day Challenge- the resources were fantastic and our teachers and kids really enjoyed the unit.”

- Teacher

“We have watched most of the Young Ocean Explorer videos and enjoyed doing the one plus a day. We also tried the mussel filtering experiment. We love doing your tasks and we are excited to learn more.”

- Students

“Thanks for all the amazing resources and for inspiring the Kaitiaki in us. Love your work!”

- Teacher

“You’re inspirational - keeping us all on track protecting our oceans! Thank you so much!”

- Teacher

“ This is an unique opportunity for learners to engage with scientists, experts and each other, while at the same time helping and learning more about our marine environment ... What a great model for learning”

- Jill Corkin, MNZM – Retired Principal & Past President of Auckland Primary Principal’s Association.

21 Day Challenge 2021

Restoring Our Oceans

What is the 21 Day Challenge?

What is the 21 Day Challenge?

  • 21 Days of learning, thinking, creating and action to engage and empower students to care for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park / Ko te Pātaka kai o Tīkapa Moana Te Moananui-ā-Toi.
  • Each lesson should take approx 90 mins - there are ideas for extension if you would like to delve deeper. Each lesson is integrated across curriculum areas.
  • At the end choose the best video from your class to send to Young Ocean Explorers to be in to win your class a prize!

Overall aims and objectives

  • To encourage an increased knowledge of the ocean, particularly the Hauraki Gulf.
  • To build an understanding of the importance of the ocean to many people in various ways.
  • To think about kaitiakitanga and care for our ocean

21 Day Challenge Overview

The challenge will run from 15 Feb 2021 - 15 Mar 2021.

Register to view detailed class plans, videos, and resources for each day.


Each child picks up 1+ pieces of plastic for 21 days Observe progress towards a goal in graphs. Can we make a difference to our local environment?


Kaitiaki – Why is the ocean important? How can we look after it?

DAYS 2-6
The wonders of the Hauraki Gulf

Meet our beautiful ocean creatures, the importance of conserving their habitat.

  • Tohorā / Whales
  • Ngā manu / Birds
  • Ika / Fish and Rimurapa / Kelp
  • Aihe / Dolphins and visiting creatures (Manta Rays and Turtles)
  • Marine Reserves
DAYS 7-10
Hope Stories

The issues facing our ocean, and stories of people who are making a difference.

  • Kina barrens and overfishing
  • Invasive Species
  • Plastic Pollution
  • Sedimentation
  • Hope stories
DAY 11
Taking action

Explore how to get involved, educate others, and create change.

DAY 12-19
Amplifying your message

Research, plan, and create a way of sharing knowledge and encouraging others to become Kaitiaki too.

DAY 20-21
Sharing and celebrating