As the students return to school on Monday after a one-week break, most will remember the highlight of their holidays of going on boat rides and watching whales and dolphins in their natural habitat thanks to Niue Ocean Wide project and Tofia Niue.
For two days, students from the Niue Primary School and Niue High School were taken on boat rides hoping to see dolphins and whales and for most of the students this would’ve been their first boat ride.
According to the President of Tofia Niue Coral Pasisi “ This is part of the Niue Ocean Wide Project and a big part of that is educating and growing the passion for the ocean in our children and so we thought, you know it would be lovely to get the kids out on the water where maybe they’ve never had that perspective before. And it also comes at the time when COVIDs hit and we really want to put some fiscal stimulus from our project into the private sector”.
Coral Pasisi said that they knew that the fishing, diving and marine tour operators are missing out on the tourist dollars now so this exercise is a combination to promote marine education and awareness for the children and provide some income for the marine operators
Six-year old Kerry Puheke said that she was looking forward to “seeing sea creatures like a shark, a whale and a turtle” and the boat ride was a special birthday treat for 8 year old Tagitose Toeono Tohovaka who was very excited to be out on the water on a boat ride and to see some fish. The treat for the students on day one was watching the spinner dolphins riding alongside their boats.
The high school students on day two were lucky to see a humpback whale up close, a matter of meters from their boat.
Most of these children have only ever seen whales and dolphins from the shore, so seeing them up close was certainly a treat and will no doubt be a memory they will never forget.
It was certainly an exciting experience for the BCN News team who were invited for a ride along on day one with Brendon Pasisi Project Manager of Niue Ocean Wide and boat skipper for the day.
Brendon said that “The children are the custodians of the future and hopefully we’ve planted the right seed now and that they will help to look after the ocean in future”.
He showed us and several 6-year olds some of the historical sites from the sea, such as the landing of Captain Cook at Opaahi and some of the caves and coves use by the fishermen of Alofi South to shelter when the weather turns and the seas are rough. An educational and entertaining expedition for the news team especially listening to the excitement from the little ones as they stare in awe at the deep blue ocean and seeing the island from the ocean.
The Niue Ocean Wide project chartered several of the marine operators who would normally be fully booked out at this time of the year with tourists for the two days marine tour expedition for the students.