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Connecting Coastal Communities across Moana Nui a Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean).

We are a research team based in Aotearoa New Zealand aiming to connect Pacific communities with their coastal environments through research, monitoring, and engagement.

Coastal communities in Aotearoa and the wider Pacific are facing increasing challenges around the management of, and access to, their traditional marine resources. We have identified two components of these challenges, which include:

1. The changing role and status of traditional ecological knowledge and management systems under the pressures of globalisation, and

2. The impact of climate change and anthropogenic influence on coastal ecosystems.

Our work will address these concerns through the construction of a knowledge-sharing network that will support multiple, tightly-focussed, community-based ecological research projects and provide a framework for future initiatives in the western Pacific.













Vavanga village is one of many villages on Kolombangara Island in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. A particular concern of theirs is the degree of anthropogenic impacts on their coral reef. The reef provides security and well-being for the community by sheltering the island from wave action, being both a food and income source, as well as a place for education and recreation for the children and adults alike. The importance of the ocean to Vavanga is also embedded in their cultural history. Their island, Kolombangara, can be translated to "water chief" and the ocean and coral reefs surrounding it are integral to their survival, identity, and sense of ownership and control over this critical resource.

This leads us to the creation of this specific research project. Using stereo-video and drone applications we can investigate the impact of turbidity on coral reef fish assemblages as well as creating a baseline map of the coral reefs for long-term monitoring.

An map of the Western Province of the Solomon Islands denoting areas of land and reef.

Map of Western Province, Solomon Islands. Data on reef distribution were obtained by the Millennium Coral Reef Mapping Project. Map provided by Julian Lilkendey (AUT)

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