Urban Nature | Sustainable Coastlines

Easy to overlook, but missed dearly if it’s absent. Nature in our urban environments has untold benefits for human health and happiness — and for the environment itself. Find out more with the resources below.

All of these resources are free to use! Use the button underneath the resources to download the content. Please credit the photographers where noted, and tag #ConnectWithNature and @sustainablecoastlines on social media.

We also want to see how you connect with nature. Check out our #NatureGivesMe campaign!

If you find our resources valuable, please consider making a donation to help us create a world with beautiful beaches, healthy waters and inspired people.

Learn more about urban nature

Videos, quotes, and facts to share

Te reo nature words

Proverbs and quotes


Did you know?

Proverbs and quotes


Venture further

Regeneration in ciites Community garden1

Regenerative practice in our cities

One way of connecting with nature is to look at what nature gives us and what we give back in return. Practices that give more than they take are called ‘regenerative’. Explore some here.

Regeneration in ciites Community garden

Connect with your community

Joining your local community garden is a great way to learn to grow food, connect with others, and encourage more green spaces in your urban environment.


Watch 2040

The film 2040 looks towards a positive future with regenerative solutions that improve the wellbeing of the planet, people and all living systems. Watch the trailer below.

Explore the rest of our Connect With Nature Resources!

The production of the Connect With Nature content series was
made possible with the generous support of SC Johnson.

We are blessed with plenty of fresh water here in Aotearoa, and with it, a diversity of unique species. The resources below are designed to educate and inspire, bringing people closer to our amazing freshwater habitats.

All of these resources are free to use! Use the button underneath the resources to download the content. Please credit the photographers where noted, and tag #ConnectWithNature and @sustainablecoastlines on social media.

We also want to see how you connect with nature. Check out our #NatureGivesMe campaign!

If you find our resources valuable, please consider making a donation to help us create a world with beautiful beaches, healthy waters and inspired people.

Learn more about fresh water

Videos, quotes, and facts to share

Te reo river words

Proverbs and quotes


Did you know?

Proverbs and quotes


Take a dip

Image tile_freshwater habitats

Freshwater habitats

We’ve been blessed with a lot of fresh water here in Aotearoa, ranging from glacier-fed lakes to underground springs. We take a look at some of these habitats’ special residents.

River Dog

Film: River Dog

Shot in the remote eastern hill-country of the Wairarapa, one human and several dogs take a stand against the water-damaging farming practices of their neighbours. Watch the trailer below and click here for the full documentary.

Explore the rest of our Connect With Nature resources!

The production of the Connect With Nature content series was
made possible with the generous support of SC Johnson.

Our native forests are unique. Forest ecosystems include a huge diversity of plants and animals, many of which are only found in Aotearoa. The resources below are designed to educate and inspire, bringing people closer to our precious forests.

All of these resources are free to use! Use the button underneath the resources to download the content. Please credit the photographers where noted, and tag #ConnectWithNature and @sustainablecoastlines on social media.

We also want to see how you connect with nature. Check out our #NatureGivesMe campaign!

If you find our resources valuable, please consider making a donation to help us create a world with beautiful beaches, healthy waters and inspired people.

Learn more about our forests

Videos, quotes, and facts to share

Te reo forest words

Proverbs and quotes


Did you know?

Proverbs and quotes


Go bush!

Connect with our native birds

Our native birds are a huge part of what makes Aotearoa special and form a big motivation for our tree-planting events. Learn more about our remarkable birds here.

Fools & Dreamers

Watch this documentary to discover an incredible story of regeneration. Degraded gorse-infested farmland has been regenerated back into beautiful New Zealand native forest over the course of 30 years, thanks to the dream of one man.


Uniqueness of NZ trees

Aotearoa’s forests evolved alone for over 55 million years. This led to some exceptional forest. Read this article to discover how we host some of the oldest primeval forests in the world, some of the largest plant species, and our trees’ unique adaptations.

Saving our kauri

Watch this short documentary about traditional Māori healer, Tohe Ashby, who looks to indigenous medicine to save an entire forest, one tree at a time.

Explore the rest of our Connect With Nature resources!

The production of the Connect With Nature content series was
made possible with the generous support of SC Johnson.

Freshwater homes

We can’t live without fresh water, and neither can the plants and animals in our environment. Water is in a constant cycle: it evaporates into the atmosphere and returns to the land as snow and rain. 

Aotearoa has a range of freshwater environments. Ice and snow in the mountains give way to rivers and streams, which eventually flow into the ocean. There’s also water deep underground, and freshwater wetlands that act as filters. Our native animals live in all of these places.

Sacred awa, invaluable habitat

Horizonal image_rivers

On the land’s surface, lakes, rivers / awa and ponds are the most common freshwater environments. Tangata whenua have strong connections to their awa as part of their genealogy because fresh water sustains the taniwha and protects wāhi tapu (sacred areas).

Many of our native freshwater fauna live in rivers and streams, and may separate themselves into slow-flowing water, pools or rapids depending on the oxygen levels, nutrients, temperatures and sedimentation. One way scientists can assess stream water quality is by looking at which faunal communities are present! Here are some of our lake and river dwellers.

Credit Flickr : epitree

Kōura / crayfish

Image: Flickr/epitree

Did you know that we have native crayfish in our fresh water? Our little kōura grow up to 80mm long and do most of their movement at night. When frightened, they flick their tail forward violently, shooting themselves back into their shelter.

pomahaka-rankle-burn-1200_Daniel Jack DOC


Image: Pomahaka galaxias, Daniel Jack, Department of Conservation

These scaleless fish are named for their galaxy-like gold flecks and patterns. Some of our galaxiid species migrate to sea to breed, but others live their entire lives where they hatch. We have 25 species of galaxiids here, including the īnanga and kōkopu. Some species, such as the banded, giant and shortjaw kōkopu, are found nowhere but Aotearoa. Others, such as the clutha galaxiid, are only found in a single catchment!

Did you know juvenile galaxiids are what we call ‘whitebait’?

Torrentfish - Stella McQueen

Panoko / torrentfish

Image: Stella McQueen, Creative Commons

The English name, torrentfish, says it all. These fish live in white rapids and use their flat head and pectoral fins to anchor to the riverbed. Panoko are part of the family ‘Cheimarrichthyidae’, but are its only known species!

Water underground

Horizonal image_underground water

Groundwater and cave habitats are valuable underground water stores, and may support the water table even when rivers run dry over summer. They are very dark, so they can’t support plant life. Despite this, animals survive here, relying on food that comes from outside the system.



Image: Phreatogammarus fragilis, ‘fragile well shrimp’, Sciblogs, Nelson Boustead

We don’t give much thought to our underground waters, but stygofauna spend their entire lives there! The term ‘stygofauna’ collectively refers to fauna that live in groundwater systems.

In Aotearoa, these range from crustaceans and gastropod snails to flatworms and beetles. Some even live 20 metres below ground level. We have a huge diversity of species in Aotearoa: there are 130 known, but experts think there could be as many as 450 species here.

More than swamps

Horizonal image_wetland

Wetlands are areas where the water table is at or near the land surface, making it permanently or temporarily covered in either fresh water or salt water. These habitats are important for preventing floods, catching sediment, supporting nutrient cycles and supporting native species like tuna / eels. Sadly, Aotearoa has lost more than 90 percent of its wetlands to make way for farms and houses.

Longfin eel _ tuna

Tuna / eels

At up to two metres long, the longfin tuna is one of the largest eels in the world. They live only in Aotearoa, except for a trip to somewhere near Tonga or east of New Caledonia for breeding — amazingly, the exact location is still unknown!

Find out more from our sources

Freshwater habitats
Department of Conservation

Groundwater habitats

Department of Conservation

Wetland Trust

Kōura / freshwater crayfish
Department of Conservation


Panoko / torrentfish
Science Learning Hub

Tuna / longfin eel
Manaaki Tuna

Department of Conservation
Te Ara

Regenerative practice

A connection to nature can be as simple as appreciating the tree by the roadside. But to fully appreciate our connection to nature, we can look at what nature gives us and what we give back in return. For most urban environments, this relationship can look a little like a one-way street.

That’s where regenerative practices in our urban environments come in. ‘Regenerative’ means to improve rather than merely sustain, so regenerative practices are those that give more than they take.

We thought we would connect you with some of the ways in which our urban environments can live more harmoniously with nature, using our friends at For The Love of Bees and our very own Flagship Education Centre (a contender for the Living Building Challenge) as examples.

Key regenerative practices to implement in our cities


Nature provides us with various ways of powering our buildings and infrastructure. As we know, some of these ways are more damaging than others. That’s why The Flagship uses solar power — we aim to generate 105 percent of our energy needs. That way, we’re not only powering ourselves, but also contributing environmentally friendly power back to the grid.


Nature provides us with fresh water and too often we repay it with polluted water. At The Flagship, we collect and filter rainwater for drinking. And rather than giving back dirty water, we treat it on site in the same way nature treats water, through a wetland! Our above-ground wetland sends water back into the municipal system with as little contamination as possible. 

We also have fantastic composting toilets to treat our black water on site.

LYC--Flagship-6-3-17--High-res49 copy


New buildings can put a lot of strain on nature in the demand for new resources and through the creation of construction waste. One regenerative practice is ‘recycling’ land and buildings.

Eighty-five percent of the materials used in The Flagship are recycled. Used shipping containers make up the main structure and we reverse-engineered the design around specific beams, giving old steel a new life.

While it opened in 2017, most of The Flagship’s core structure is more than 60 years old! It also occupies a space that was once 18 car parks.


Connecting people

Part of being regenerative is to foster harmony in our urban spaces and inspire people to look after our natural world. 

At The Flagship, an abundance of plants and natural materials make it a beautiful place to occupy. We are also located on reclaimed land that was once ocean, so through our educational signage, we aim to reconnect people to the area’s origins. 

Through their many projects, workshops, community gardens, and collaborations with local businesses and groups, For the Love of Bees do an amazing job at connecting people with nature itself and solutions to some of the problems it’s facing.

Food waste

Composting your food waste is a fantastic regenerative practice. What could have been releasing harmful methane in landfill is turned into an invaluable resource for growing food.

As an awesome example of making a regenerative practice more accessible, For the Love of Bees set up a ‘community composting hub’ for use by the Wynyard Quarter restaurants, one of many they have set up. This type of community engagement and outreach is what can make regenerative practices widespread.

Growing food

Making use of our urban spaces to grow food is a great way to reduce the impact of the supply chain on nature. Store-bought food involves packaging and multiple means of transportation, so growing locally can skip all that.

For the Love of Bees have a goal to have an urban farm every 1km. They have several already, which follow regenerative agriculture techniques — see the video below for an explanation of what regenerative agriculture involves.

How can I get involved?

  • If you’re building or renovating, consider what practices you can use to make your new build as nature friendly as possible. Visit us down at The Flagship for inspiration if you’re nearby! Visit us down at The Flagship for inspiration if you’re nearby! Check out the companies that helped us out in our build at the bottom of this page.
  • Most of the practices listed above are best done as a community, so get together with your local community group or community garden. 
  • Spread awareness of and support groups and businesses that aim for regenerative goals. 
  • Plant a garden! Even if you only grow a fraction of your own food to start with. Community gardens will often have workshops to help you get started.

Learn more

The film 2040 looks towards a positive future with regenerative solutions that improve the wellbeing of the planet, all people and all living systems. Watch the trailer below.

The Living Building Challenge asks the question, what if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place? The challenge sets building standards in seven categories: place, water, energy, health and happiness, materials, equity, and beauty.

This Guardian article looks at  regenerative urban development as a prerequisite for the future of cities. “The solution lies in thinking beyond the vague and rather unambitious notion of sustainability and, instead, actively working towards regenerating soils, forests and watercourses. The aim is to improve rather than merely sustain their currently degraded condition.”

To learn about regenerative practice in a rural environment, take a look at New Zealand Geographic’s article on regenerative agriculture. It looks at different ways farmers are adopting regenerative practices here in Aotearoa.

Our marine animals

While Aotearoa’s land is relatively small, we make up for it with the size of our waters. At around 430 million hectares, our ocean territory is 15 times the size of our land mass! That being the case, we’re lucky to have a diversity of marine animals enter our waters. 

We’re constantly inspired by these beautiful animals, and endeavour to protect them through tackling the plastic pollution problem here in Aotearoa. 

Here are just some of the amazing creatures we hope to protect.

Honu / sea turtle

Despite the fact they do not breed in Aotearoa, we encounter five species of honu, or sea turtle, in our waters. The green and leatherback turtles are the species most commonly found in Aotearoa.

What makes honu special?

  • Honu are reptiles, so are cold-blooded. Our waters are usually too cold for them, but in recent years we have had more sightings due to warming temperatures.
  • Honu can maintain body temperatures 5˚C above the sea, which may be why they are more likely to be found in Aotearoa’s cool waters.
  • Leatherback turtles have been clocked as swimming up to 40 kilometres per hour when travelling long distance.
  • Adult green turtles are the only herbivorous sea turtle in the world. However, before they grow up, one of their favourite things to eat is the jellyfish! This can make them particularly vulnerable to ingesting plastics, especially plastic bags.

Māui dolphin / popoto

Image: Department of Conservation and Auckland University.

Māui dolphins, or popoto, are endemic to Aotearoa and are the rarest dolphins in the world, with only around 63 individuals remaining. All of them can be found on the west coast of Te Ika-a-Māui / the North Island, most commonly between Manukau Harbour and Port Waikato.

What makes Māui dolphins special?

  • Out of all dolphin species in the world, Māui dolphins are the smallest. They grow up to 1.7 metres long and weigh 50kg at most! 
  • They are the only dolphins to have a black, rounded dorsal fin. Most other dolphin dorsal fins are sickle-shaped.
  •  Māui dolphins communicate with clicks at a frequency too high for human ears. We have to slow these sounds down 20 times to hear them! Listen below.


  • They also use sound to find their food. Known as ‘echolocation’, and used by other dolphins, they produce high-frequency clicks that bounce off fish and surrounding objects so they can ‘see’ in murky water.
  • Hector’s dolphins look almost identical to Māui dolphins, but are actually genetically and physically distinct.

Toroa / royal albatross

Toroa, or royal albatross, are the largest seabirds in the world, and endemic to Aotearoa. There are two subspecies: Northern and Southern toroa. Of Northern toroa, 99 percent breed on the predator-free Chatham Islands, while the other 1 percent (around 30 pairs) breed at Dunedin’s Taiaroa Head. Meanwhile, Southern toroa only breed on the Subantarctic Campbell and Auckland Islands, with the former hosting 99 percent of breeding pairs!

What makes toroa special?

  • Toroa are Southern Ocean wanderers, spending approximately 85 percent of their lives at sea and only returning to land to breed! Young toroa may spend up to five years at sea before breeding for the first time.
  • Toroa can circumnavigate the globe in just 46 days using a gliding technique called ‘dynamic soaring’. This technique means they don’t have to beat their wings, so they can save their energy.
  • The widest recorded wingspan of the toroa is 3.7 metres.
  • When left undisturbed, toroa can live to be more than 60 years old.

Rako / Buller's shearwater

Rako, or Buller’s shearwater, can be seen across Aotearoa, especially in the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty. However, due to their vulnerability to humans and other predators they now only breed at Tawhitirahi and Aorangi (Poor Knights) Islands near Whāngārei. There are now fewer than 100,000 breeding pairs left — down from an estimated 2.5 million during the 1980s.

What makes rako special?

  • Rako, like many of New Zealand’s petrels, breed in burrows instead of trees or bushes! This trait makes them vulnerable to introduced predators.
  • Rako are protective of their breeding grounds, crowding out most other petrel species and preventing them from breeding in these areas.
  • Rako are nocturnally active during the breeding season. At night, nesting grounds come alive with the rako’s cooing and groaning calls. Listen here.


  • Though they only breed in Aotearoa, rako can be found moulting and feeding around Japan and off the North American coast during our autumn and winter.

Oceanic manta rays

Oceanic manta rays are the largest of all manta rays. They frequent Aotearoa’s waters, but we know very little about the rays that come here. Manta Watch New Zealand was set up to find out more, specifically, whether the mantas seen here are seasonal visitors, or a distinct population.

What makes manta rays special?

  • They’re also known as the ‘giant manta ray’ for a reason. They grow up to seven metres across and weigh up to 3,000kg! 
  • A manta ray stranded on the Far North’s Rarawa Beach in early 2020, the first time on record — they normally sink to the ocean floor.
  • Manta rays also have the largest brain of any cold-blooded fish.
  • Manta rays are filter feeders, and cruise the open ocean, straining the water from plankton/krill. This filter-feeding strategy makes them vulnerable to ingesting small pieces of plastic.
  • Manta ray mouths are like a sieve, but they never get clogged by large particles due to a ricochet mechanism.
  • Manta rays do not have a poisonous spine in their tail like other stingray species. 

Our native birds

Our native birds are a huge part of what makes Aotearoa special. While we don’t have a huge number of species, what we lack in quantity we more than make up for in distinctiveness.

These wonderful creatures are vulnerable to introduced pests as well as habitat loss. Creating new habitats for these birds is a big motivation for people who take part in our Love Your Water tree-planting events.

 Here are just a few of our remarkable birds.


The pīwakawaka, or fantail, is a little songbird that is widespread throughout Aotearoa’s mainland. Also known as tīrairaka, pīwakawaka are a relatively successful species compared to other natives. The reason for this is their ability to produce lots of young and having a broad diet of small insects, making their diet resilient to environmental changes.

What makes pīwakawaka special?

  • You can recognise a pīwakawaka by its impressive black and white tail, which it uses to change direction quickly while hunting for insects.
  • Most pīwakawaka are grey in colour; however, about 5% of the South Island populations are black, with no white feathers in their tail. Occasionally, a pīwakawaka without a tail can be seen!
  • Pīwakawaka love singing, but only when it’s warm. They will cheep when they’re catching insects (listen below) or when they are alarmed. During the breeding season (August–March), they sing extra loud.



As the only alpine parrots in the world, kea are pretty special birds!

The kea owes its name to its call, which, most commonly, is a long, loud, high-pitched descending cry which may be a broken “kee-ee-aa-aa”, or unbroken “keeeeeaaaa”. 


What makes kea special?

  • Kea are very curious. They are naturally attracted to people that enter their alpine environments, which has led to some funny situations! One kea learnt to turn on the water tap at Aspiring Hut campground. Another locked a mountaineer inside the toilet at Mueller Hut!
  • Like most native birds, kea are vulnerable to introduced pest species, but we humans also cause a problem. Where kea are fed regularly, they are more at risk from pest control and accidents with man-made objects such as cars. So, if you’re lucky enough to see a kea, avoid feeding it!
  • Kea are also known to be one of the most intelligent birds. Recent research has shown that they understand probability, a trait only seen previously in humans and apes. Watch below.


Ruru, or morepork, are often heard in the forest at dusk and throughout the night. You can also sometimes hear them in urban areas. Ruru are named for their call both in te reo Māori and in English. Have a listen below.


What makes ruru special?

  • In Māori tradition the morepork was seen as a watchful guardian. It belonged to the spirit world as it is a bird of the night.
  • You can recognize a ruru by its speckled brown feathers and yellow eyes.
  • Ruru were our only native owl species until recently, but have now been joined by barn owls.
  • A ruru can turn its head 270 degrees! They are also very sensitive to light, and like most owls, are nocturnal.
  • Ruru aren’t currently threatened, but experts believe that numbers are in gradual decline due to predation and loss of habitat. By avoiding chopping down old trees and planting new trees (preferably native), we can save crucial habitat for ruru.


The famous, flightless kiwi are a cherished national icon. Having evolved in a land with no predators, they are seen as a symbol for the uniqueness of Aotearoa’s wildlife.

Unfortunately, the very attributes that make kiwi unique are those that make them vulnerable. They are unable to easily escape from predators and are susceptible to crushing injuries. A small and playful push from a dog can be deadly.

This is why kiwi are flagship species for Aotearoa’s conservation work. The state of the species gives a good indication of the state of the natural environment.

There are five different species of kiwi:
North Island brown kiwi  ·  Roroa / great spotted kiwi  ·  Kiwi pukupuku / little spotted kiwi  ·  Tokoeka / southern brown kiwi  ·  Rowi / Okarito brown kiwi.

What makes kiwi special?

  • Kiwi are ‘ratites’, a diverse group of flightless birds that includes emus, ostriches, cassowaries, and our now-extinct moa. Of the remaining species, kiwi are the only nocturnal members!
  • It’s believed that ancestors of the kiwi arrived in Aotearoa 60 million years ago when it was part of the Gondwana supercontinent that included South America, Africa, Madagascar, Antarctica, and Australia. The hypothesis is that all ratites shared a common ancestor and evolved into different species after the continent split up.
  • The male kiwi call is different from the female call! Listen to the difference below.
Male North Island Brown kiwi call
Female North Island Brown kiwi call


  • Kiwi can sense through their beaks! Recent research found that while kiwi can’t see very well, they make up for it with sensory pits at the tips of their beaks. This allows them to sense prey moving underground.
  • According to Māori mythology, the kiwi lost its wings due to a selfless act to save the forest’s trees. Watch the story here.


Kākāpō are one of the rarest taonga of Aotearoa. The kākāpō population reached a low point of around 50 birds in the 1990s. Amazing progress has been made by Kākāpō Recovery, increasing the population to 210 today. Because of their vulnerability to humans and other predators, kākāpō now live only on protected islands.  

What makes kākāpō special?

  • Kākāpō are one of the longest living birds in the world, reaching up to 90 years old!
  • Their diet is completely vegetarian, and like kiwi, kākāpō are flightless and nocturnal.
  • They are also the heaviest parrot species in the world, with smaller females weighing on average 1.4 kg, and males 2.2 kg!
  • Kākāpō are the only lek-breeding parrots species in the world. Males use their unique ‘booming’ and ‘chinging’ sounds to attract females.
A male ‘boom’ used to attract females. 
A male ‘ching’ used to attract females.


The hihi, or stitchbird, is one of New Zealand’s rarest birds. Before the arrival of Europeans and the mammalian predators and avian diseases that they brought with them, hihi were found throughout the North Island. The only remaining natural population of hihi is found on Te Hauturu-o-Toi, Little Barrier Island.

Thanks to conservation efforts, there are now small managed populations of hihi in bird sanctuaries such as Tiritiri Matangi and Kapiti Island.

What makes hihi special?

  • Hihi feed on nectar, fruit, and invertebrates. To avoid competition with other honeyeaters, such as tui and korimako / bellbirds, they feed in the understorey and shrub layers of the forest.
  • Hihi are one of only two honeyeaters in the world that nest in tree hollows.
  • Hihi sometimes mate face to face, the only birds known to do so!
  • Like many birds, hihi are sexually dimorphic, meaning that the male and female differ in appearance. The female is olive brown, while the male is bright yellow, black, and white.
  • Both male and female have a noisy call. Listen below.

Sources, with thanks.

New Zealand Birds Online
Kiwi For Kiwis
Department of Conservation
Kākāpō image: Department of Conservation
Sound recordings: Department of Conservation

Connect through citizen science


  • Find out if you have a local survey area. Search your local beaches here.
  • Get more info about monitoring your local beach here.

Sometimes, connecting with nature is about connecting with the issues our environment is facing. Our Litter Intelligence citizen scientists visit their local beach every three months to collect data on the litter that has accumulated there.

These data contribute to a national litter database that enables Aotearoa’s problem-solvers to understand the issues and design the best solutions.

We love this because citizen scientists are not only connecting with their local beach, but they’re also working to protect it.


Are your local beaches monitored? 

Type them into the search bar one at a time on the Litter Intelligence website to find out.

  • If one of your local beaches pops up, click through to the most recent survey. Here, you can see the exact stretch of coastline that is monitored on each survey.
  • How clean is your beach? Find out here.
  • What’s the most common piece of litter picked up? Does this ring true when you visit the beach?
Julie_Chandelier_SCTeAtatu-42 copy

Get involved!

If none of your local beaches is currently monitored, how about starting a survey area yourself? You’ll need at least two other people and be able to commit to a fun training day and to monitor your site every three months. Anyone can get involved — existing community groups, school groups, or you and your kids or friends! Get more info here.


An awesome way to connect

For us, spending time at the beach and seeing what’s found is an amazing way to connect to them. It reinforces our kaitiakitanga (guardianship) over our coasts and enables us to provide invaluable information to protect them for future generations and the wildlife that inhabits them.

In Aotearoa, it’s not hard to find people that love the beach. But how much do we know about our coasts and oceans? We’ve put together the resources below to educate and inspire, bringing people closer to the beaches they love.

All of these resources are free to use! Use the button underneath the resources to download the content. Please credit the photographers where noted, and tag #ConnectWithNature and @sustainablecoastlines on social media.

We also want to see how you connect with nature. Check out our #NatureGivesMe campaign!

If you find our resources valuable, please consider making a donation to help us create a world with beautiful beaches, healthy waters and inspired people.

Learn more about coasts and oceans

Videos, quotes, and facts to share

Te reo ocean words

Proverbs and quotes


Did you know?

Proverbs and quotes


Dive deeper!

Image tile template_connect with marine animals

Connect with marine animals

In Aotearoa, we’re lucky to have a diversity of marine species enter our waters. Protecting them is a main motivator for people taking part in our beach clean-ups. Find out about some of these inspirational animals here.

Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 12.58.32 PM

Colour for our coasts

Try this ocean-themed colouring in from PangeaSeed’s Sea Walls, a project that takes the pressing issues that the oceans are facing to streets around the world. They recreate the murals as colouring-in books to help people connect to the art and the issues at home.


Connect with your local beach

We believe that connecting with nature is also about connecting with the issues our environment is facing. That’s why citizen science is an awesome way to truly get in touch with your local beach. Find out more here.

Oceans above fold


Check out some of our team’s recommendations for the best ocean podcasts and films. Learn about the threats facing our moana and be inspired by the fantastic world that lies beneath its surface.

Explore the rest of our Connect With Nature resources!

The production of the Connect With Nature content series was
made possible with the generous support of SC Johnson.

What's the problem?

We all know that smoking is bad for our health, but it’s also bad for our planet. Cigarette butts are the most littered plastic item in the entire world! It’s a common misconception that cigarette butts quickly biodegrade. In reality, the filter is made out of plastic cellulose acetate fibres.

Since cigarettes are so easily littered on the street, they quickly end up in our waterways and eventually, our moana. They leach nicotine and heavy metals into our waters and end up as microplastic pollution.

It is estimated by Keep New Zealand Beautiful that we have about 10 billion cigarette butts strewn across our country. That’s about 2,000 cigarette butts out in our nature per New Zealander! This is despite the fact that New Zealand has one of the lowest tobacco smoking rankings in the entire world, showing that this is a massive issue worldwide!

Small changes for big impact

Change your behaviour

Not smoking is the simple answer, but if you’re not ready to quit, always make sure your cigarette butts are disposed of responsibly. Because there aren’t always dedicated butt bins nearby, we recommend carrying a tin box with you — a repurposed mint tin is perfect!

Spread awareness! Tell others about this issue. It’s a very common belief that cigarette butts are biodegradable; set people straight and help them make an informed decision about what to do with their butts.

Get involved!

Organise your own cigarette butt, coastline or street clean up! Request a Sustainable Coastlines DIY kit and head out to your local park, pub or other area! Count your butts, take some pictures and share them!

Too busy to do a clean-up yourself but still want to help out? Leave a donation!

Want to get more involved with the work we do at Sustainable Coastlines? Become a member!