MKTT January 2024 Expedition update -Team completes NZ Subantarctic Island visits
The January Expedition Team that departed Bluff on 10 January, 2024 and has completed its visits to the NZ Sub Antarctic Islands (Auckland Islands, Enderby Island and the Snares), and Macquire Island, over the period 11-15 January 2024.
Murihiku ki te Tonga (MKTT) is a Murihiku Regeneration sponsored research, science and innovation programme, focused on building capability, capacity and greater understanding of the NZ Sub Antarctic Islands, Southern Ocean, and Ross Sea Sector . Since deploying, a range of projects and studies are now underway by the team. One of the key aims of the Expedition is to develop a culturally based framework for ongoing mātauranga Māori.
“This includes multiple science disciplines management for Te Moana Tāpokopoko a Tāwhaki ( the Southern Ocean). It has been our intent to take previous data from Ngāi Tahu scholars and archaeologists, taonga species monitoring, multiple science disciplines, as well as whānau observations, to inform the Āpiti Hono Tātai Hono (AHTH) assessments, and create a base framework for ongoing management.”
“This will be followed up on future expeditions to build our knowledge base,” says Riki Parata, MKTT Team Leader about the work the team is conducting.
The team is now well inside the Antarctic Circle, having already visited a number of Subantarctic Islands -including the Auckland Islands (landing and shore based activities), the Snares (small boat activity, no landing), and Cape Adare on its southern journey.
“Early in the voyage, we undertook a three hour zodiac ride on 11 January, around the southern end of the Snares. The amount of sea birds was overwhelming, with sooty shearwater, prions, albatross and petrels as far as the eye could see.”
“ Tītī burrows could be seen on the mainlaod from our boats, with krill on mass on top of the moana, with huge bait balls forming around them that attratced larger fish species, penguins, and larger sea birds into a feeding frenzy”.
“On 12 January, we visited the Auckland Islands, where we undertook a cultural assessment of both Ranui and Hardwicke Settlements, and we then deployed to Enderby Island to undertake a further cultural assessment, and also drone operations as a part of supporting and building on a March 2023 archaeological expedition undertaken by Ngai Tahu researchers Gerald O’Regan and Matiu Prebble”.
“The opportunity to further explore and record know Māori settlements and activities on Enderby Island and then Macquarie Island, as a whole team were significant outcomes for the expedition team.”
As we move south, the team plans to undertake a range of activities that includes marine mammal research using small boats, from the sea ice edge, and on land”, shared Riki Parata in his update on activities from the first full week of deployment.
As of 22 January 2024, their vessel, the Heritage Adventurer, was well inside the Antarctic Circle and approaching Terra Nova Bay, where further research is planned.
Posted: 23 January 2024