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Counting down to our Southwest Pacific Expedition

Counting down to our Southwest Pacific Expedition

By Tom Trnski
Wednesday, 26 July 2017

We have been counting down the days to our marine expedition around the Southwest Pacific.

Tomorrow (27 July) we depart Noumea bound for Banc de I’Orne - the first stop on a six-week expedition that will explore the marine environments of Walpole Is, Ellet Bank, Suva, North Lau, South Lau, Ata Island, North Minerva, South Minerva and Raoul Island in the Kermadecs.

Auckland Museum is leading this expedition and we’ve brought together a team of marine scientists from Te Papa, Massey University, the Australian Museum and Conservation International.

There are a number of different research projects being undertaken on the expedition but the main aim is to record the coastal marine biodiversity of the Southwest Pacific region.

A Yellow Boxfish photographed in the Herald Islets during the 2011 Kermadec expedition

Richard Robinson

We’ll be visiting a number of remote islands on this expedition that have rarely, if ever, been properly surveyed so there’s a high chance of new discoveries - species that have never been recorded in those areas before and, perhaps, species that are new to science and have never been recorded anywhere else in the world.

The Zebra Lionfish was a brand new record for the Kermadecs and for New Zealand – so it was the first time it had ever been recorded in NZ waters.

Richard Robinson

There’s so much to learn about our marine environments and we want to share our discoveries with you so we’re also bringing an underwater photojournalist Richard Robinson and an underwater cameraman Kina Scollay.

During the expedition we’ll be sharing updates - via this blog - about what we’ve found, the work of our experts and a glimpse of the incredible marine life that we hardly ever get to see but is so vital to our existence.

We’ve down to the final preparations now, and I thought I’d leave you with a behind the scenes look at our packing …

Packing for a six-week expedition involving numerous research projects and a sizeable team of scientists is a little more intense than throwing together a suitcase for a jaunt in the Pacific.

We have flown to Noumea to meet our expedition vessel the Braveheart but before it left New Zealand we pre-loaded it with all the equipment and supplies we will need to carry out our research. The photo here at the Museum loading dock shows about a fifth of what we had to pack - definitely not suitable for carry-on luggage.

There’s no such thing as packing light for a marine expedition.

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira

  • Post by: Tom Trnski

    Ever since Tom Trnski learnt to snorkel he has had an abiding interest in the life-forms found in our blue backyard and has lead a number of research expeditions to remote islands off the coast of New Zealand and throughout the Pacific. He currently heads the Auckland Museum's Natural Sciences team whose main activities are collection management, collection development, research, and exhibitions and public programmes relating to our collecting areas of botany, entomology, geology, land vertebrates, marine biology and palaeontology.