On our second day we were able to experience the sun rise over Algies Bay. Unfortunately we were not able to stay at the bay long enough to watch the tide come back in and cover up the oyster beds and rock ledges it had uncovered the night before.
As soon as breakfast was done and we packed our lunches and headed to the Goat Island Marine Reserve. The reserve is the oldest marine reserve in the world and helps to supply marine life with a safe and natural place to live. During our time there the group experienced a glass bottom boat tour and snorkeling around the reserve. These two experiences brought a visual representation to the biodiversity of the reserve and surrounding waters. Some of the species observed during the tour and snorkeling were snappers, shrimp, sting rays, and a moray eel (plus many more).
The end of our group’s time at Goat Island brought us to a long drive to Tauranga, south of Auckland about two hours. During the drive many students discussed the events of snorkeling and what they gathered from the experience. Lessons learned included the importance of natural, untouched wildlife and marine areas, the need for public education about nature preserves, and the overall biodiversity of the Goat Island Marine Reserve.
Today’s activities came to a close with a dinner at a local pub where we sat together around one big table. It seems like this is an important factor in New Zealand culture, being one is foremost important. With each activity every person must be able to think and act in coordination with everyone else. When we arrive at a location people see us as a group of American students, not singular students. The Maori people see it the same way, a group is one and they all have the same persona, or mana, which directly shows their attitudes, personal connections, and pride. Today our mana grew, we worked together to assure everyone enjoyed themselves and was able to experience Goat Island to the fullest extent.