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Moana - My Ocean

The exhibition

Image: Phytoplankton, Calcidiscus leptoporus

Hoe ChangNIWA
Auckland's East Coast

Moana –- My Ocean begins in the sunlit surface waters, where the ocean meets the shore on Auckland'’s east coast.  Visitors meet the tiny microscopic plants at the heart of the ocean food web and observe shore birds feeding in the rich shallow waters of the Firth of Thames.  They learn about the restoration of Okahu Bay and see the power of protection at Leigh Marine Reserve.

Linda Preston and Alan Hart with Snapper, Snells Beach 1965

Auckland Museum
Hauraki Gulf

From the shore the exhibition moves out into the open waters of the Hauraki Gulf.  This is a place where Bryde'’s whales (pronounced Brooders) open their gaping mouths to feed on a plentiful supply of small fish and plankton.  Visitors are dropped into the middle of a Hauraki Gulf boil-up where kingfish, sharks and dolphins round up small fish into a ‘bait ball’ while gannets dive bomb from above.  The impact of seven-centuries of snapper fishing is told and visitors meet the 13 species of shark that call the Hauraki Gulf home.

Female anglerfish fanfin seadevil, Caulophryne jordani

National Picture Library, TRANZ

The midwater is the largest living space on the planet.  This environment ranges from the near surface to the darkening depths and is home to some of the strangest creatures in the ocean.  Here visitors will meet, among others, a fish with a mouthful of oversized fangs, a lanternfish that lights up with a camouflaging glow, and a female anglerfish half a million times bigger than the male.

7000m Super-G in hand


The Kermadec Trench plunges 10,000m below the surface.  Down there it is cold and dark. There is enormous pressure from the water above.  Little is known about the animals that survive at this depth, most of whom feed on whatever drifts down from above.  From the Trench visitors move upwards to the Kermadec Arc, a range of undersea volcanoes home to animals that feed on chemicals shooting out of hot underwater vents.

Cardinal fish, Kermadec Islands

Richard Robinson
Kermadec Islands

Visitors surface again at the Kermadec Islands - volcanic peaks raising their heads above the water.  The islands, perched between the warm waters of the tropical Pacific to the north and cooler waters to the south, are home to an unusual range of marine animals. Visitors learn about Auckland Museum'’s 2011 Biodiscovery expedition to the Kermadecs . They are introduced to the science behind the voyage, how species are collected and identified, and meet some of the specimens—including those entirely new to science.