MRAQ24 Mission Completed – First Southern Ocean Expedition Team return to Bluff on 4 February 2024
MRAQ24A, the designation given to the six person Murihiku Regeneration Team, that deployed on the 124 m vessel -Heritage Adventurer into the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea Sector, returned to Bluff on 4 February 2024, after 24 days at sea. The purpose of the expedition was to build capability, capacity for Murihiku Hapū members, undertake a range of science and research projects, and also to take a more active an engaageed presence in and around the NZ SubAntarctic Islands. For Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu, these islands form part of the maritime zone of interest that is referenced and acknolwedged in the Ngai Tahu Settlement Act, 1998.
The MRAQ24A team gathered at SouthPort on 5 February to undertake a quick debrief on the expedition, including to discuss lessons learned, and to also hand over these learnings to the MRAQ24B Team Leader, Rewi Davis from Oraka Aparima for the February-March deployment.
“ It was an awesome experience, one I will never forget,” stated Luka Finn (Hokonui) recounting his time onboard with the team.
“ There is so much opportunity and potential for Murihiku Hapū, Ngai Tahu and our whanau to gain by building on this experience. There are a whole range of projects and activities that we can develop for future trips,” confirmed Riki Parata, the MRAQ24 Team Leader.
“The Heritage (Expeditions) Team on the Adventurer were very professional, supportive of our science work, and I would like to thank them for their commitment in making the trip possible,” said Karlee Nicholas (Hokonui) of his time onboard.
Nathan Russ, Heritage Adventurer Operations Manager for the January 2024 voyage comments that, “ it was our pleasure to host the Murihiku Regeneration team onboard. The passengers and crew enjoyed the opportunity to share and learn from them as they went about their work.”
As a result of the expedition, project and expedition reporting will be completed and shared with others, and thinking will occur around the next projects and expedition work that will be completed as a part of the Murihiku ki te Tonga Programme.
“ The work we have done on the SubAntarctic Islands where we landed will be invaluable. We are looking to pull together a comprehensive framework of information that will reference and inform future projects on these islands,” said Riki Parata about the cultural assessments completed so far.
“This is just the start of our work. The cultural assessment work, the marine mammal research and building up our capability; it will all help to develop this research programme into something that will make a big difference for us,” said Riki Nicholas, the Murihiku Ki Te Tonga Programme Director.
MRA24B will be returning to Bluff in early March, and regular updates on their work will be provided to the Murihiku Regeneration website MKTT blog.
Posted: 9 February 2024