From the big blue sea to the BBC!
Mountains to Sea and Taputeranga Marine Reserve both get a shout-out in a new BBC Future Planet article about the many health benefits that come from spending time in (or near) the moana.
More and more studies show that we feel better when we’re close to blue spaces (such as beaches, rivers, wetlands and lakes). Some call this ‘blue therapy’. In particular, people who suffer from depression, PTSD and other mental health challenges benefit from regular visits to the sea – whether they get in the water or not. The sound of the waves, the feeling of wet sand underfoot and the view of the water all produce a sense of peace and wellbeing.
For those who are able, getting into the sea is an even more immersive experience that provides close encounters with beautiful marine life and a feeling of deep connection to nature, whether they’re snorkelling, swimming, surfing, or just having a paddle.
One way Mountains to Sea Wellington encourages this connection to te taiao (the environment) is by running programmes for tamariki to experience the wonders of the marine reserve by spending time on the Island Bay Snorkel Trail.
Some of the kids who attend have never seen the ocean before and the programme gives them a deeper connection to the environment, a sense of pride in what they’ve accomplished, and hope for the future. “I saw so many fishes, paua and crayfish – it’s such a healing place for the soul,” said one student, after taking her first dip there.
The reserve is an underwater wonderland with plenty of fish darting around, fascinating rock pools full of life, and swaying seaweed forests. It’s just six kilometres from the CBD and it’s clear that providing more accessible blue spaces in urban environments is key to combating the stresses of our modern world by providing little ‘oases’ where people can go and feel rejuvenated.
Do you enjoy visiting the marine reserve, either alone or with friends and whānau? What sort of activities do you enjoy doing there?
If you like to make a difference and support our scholarships and community education & outreach events in Taputeranga Marine Reserve consider a donation to the Friends of Taputeranga Marine Reserve Trust.
Photos by Nicole Miller