28 February 2018

After rain forced its cancellation last year, The Happy Harbour Fun Day is back this Saturday with a weather friendly venue and even more activities.  

The family friendly event is hosted by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council in collaboration with partner organisations and aims to help people better understand Tauranga Moana through fun hands on experiences and experiments said Sarah Omundsen,  BOP Regional Council Tauranga Catchments Manager.

“We used to have a harbour symposium but we’ve change the format to make it more engaging and fun. We wanted to create a family friendly event so our community can learn about their harbour as well as the work that’s going in to looking after it,” Omundsen said.

The activity that is getting the most attention is the dissection of a male Bronze Whaler that will be conducted by Waikato University scientists as part of their research.

Masters Student Melissa Kellett, who will be conducting the live dissection says, it will not only be a one off chance for people to learn about sharks, but it will also help scientists continue their research about the species and the role they play in local ecology.

“This will be a rare, hands-on (and a bit smelly) opportunity for people to learn about the unique evolution and physiology of sharks. It will also aid current field studies allowing us to compare the bronze whaler physiology to other shark species” - explains Kellet.
The opportunity was only possible after the shark was found washed up deceased at Shakespeare Bay, Whangaparoa earlier in the year. It was collected by DoC and Auckland Museum staff before being given to the University of Waikato to conduct their research.

The dissection is just one of the exhibits at the Happy Harbour Fun Day, an event aimed at providing a hands-on and exciting opportunity for the public to learn about what’s happening in Tauranga Moana. Kids can take part in experiments; go on guided crab and critter hunts, as well as storytelling, games and a free open air screening of the Disney movie Moana at 5pm.  

To find out more, visit facebook.com/happyharbourfunday2018

What: Tauranga Moana – Happy Harbour Fun Day

When: This Saturday, 3rd March.

Where: Memorial Park From 1pm

Free event

For further media information, please contact Harry Singh, Communications Advisor, on media@boprc.govt.nz or 027 538 7553.

Brachyurus Bronze Whaler Kendall Clements